Empathy is the basic human trait that unfortunately is found quite rarely in people these days. But this couple from Lithuania is teaching all of us what real human power is and what humans can do if there is will, dedication and most importantly love.
The only thing that makes you more human is your kindness. Your ability to help others with no expectations in return. This heartwarming story is about a Lithuania couple who traveled to Thailand six years ago. Little did they know that the Thai Island Koh Kood will become their permanent residence in the near future. The couple fell in love with the beauty of the island that at the beginning of their trip, they had to say goodbye via phone to their beloved boxer who stayed back in Lithuania. It was during their traveling that their beloved boxer Aibo became very sick and could not be saved. "He became very sick and it was impossible to save him. It was a very hard time for us, we couldn’t be with him, all we could do was to say we love him on the phone. We were so broken,” they said.
After their terrible loss, the couple decided to stay back at this island and adopt a stray puppy. While they noticed dogs running around the island before, they were only able to fully comprehend how many stray dogs there are after permanently moving to Koh Kood.
The couple also noticed that many of them were sick or injured. The first dog they adopted in Koh Kood Is Zuika, which is Lithuanian for 'baby rabbit'. They also made a short trip back to Lithuania and brought their other dog, Rudis, to Thailand with them, since they knew they were there to stay. "At the moment there are 15 adopted stray dogs living with us: 2 blind doggies, 4 with disabilities. All of them have their own stories – saved from death as a puppy, blind, paralyzed.”
Adopting so many dogs and taking care of them, came with its own fair share of trouble. “The landlord of our house, which we rented for many years, refused to extend our rent. We literary became homeless with our big family, former landlord was far away from animal friendly. But we now have a new place in a remote area of the island and are happy to be with our 15 doggos.”
The couple didn’t stop there and started looking out for other dogs on the island too. “We want to help Koh Kood dogs, for this purpose me and my wife created “Sabai Dog Koh Kood” [their Facebook page]. Word “sabai” in the Thai language means “happy”, we want Koh Kood dogs to be happy and healthy,” Mantas writes on the said Facebook page.
As this island has no vet facilities and many of their adopted dogs are often sick so they mostly consult with their vet back at home Lithuania.
They started to give their leftover food to stray dogs. It then developed to them buying huge bags of dog food and later led to buying basic first aid supplies such as bandages, saline, and betadine. Despite the island having a huge and ever-growing dog population, there is not a single vet in the there. "We are no vets by far but as time passed we didn’t even notice how we got able to deal with serious wounds, got more and more medical knowledge about different diseases,” the couple says.
Their vet abroad not only helps them with his knowledge but often makes dog food donations too. Most of the dogs here have skin conditions called “Canine Mange”, demodex and sarcoptic as well. They also explain that there are a lot of motorbike and car accidents that leave many dogs injured. A lot of dogs have abscesses on their legs, necks, and/or heads and are prone to infections due to malnourishment since the only food they can get is rice.
Currently, they are doing the best they can with their limited resources and funds. The couple also says that dogs with collars have a better chance to survive and asks tourists to give away second-hand collars if they have any. You can also help with your donations here.
They drive almost 40Km every day to provide food, to give daily-check-ups, and to provide medicines to the local dogs. Back in 2015 they also began a project aimed at controlling Koh Kood island’s dog population. “For serious cases like dogs losing limbs in the traps, deep open wounds, unknown cases we take dogs to the mainland by a boat and then drive 100km to a vet clinic or even 700km to a vet hospital. We do not have funds for such emergency cases so we use our own money and ask people for help to donate.
They’ve reached out to all possible vet schools, clinics, and organizations back in 2015, asking to help control the island’s dog population. Together with Khon Kaen University they organized the first dog spay/neuter project and took care of over 70 dogs. They later continued the project with different organizations and have currently spayed/neutered over 1000 dogs in the island.
You can also help support this amazing mission by donating on their Paypal account ([email protected]) or make a bank transfer. You can find their details in this Facebook post. “Everyone is welcomed to visit our small dog heaven in Koh Kood. Just ask any local for Sabai Dog or “Mantas” and they will tell you how to find us. At the moment we are looking for a new place to live on the island.”