PET

The touching story of Devote, the compassionate man who saves abandoned dogs in Thailand, is loved by many

Half a decade ago, a man’s shattered emotions sparked a significant change in the existence of stray dogs roaming the streets of Thailand. Today, he is hailed as the “dog savior” for his unwavering efforts to rescue these canines.

After touring Thailand with his wife, Scottish restaurateur Michael J. Baines decided to settle there and start a restaurant business 15 years ago. While working one day, he encountered a street dog that was malnourished and in need of food. This encounter changed his life when the dog looked at him and seemingly said, “Help me! I’m hurt. I’m hungry.” Baines was deeply moved and touched by the dog’s plight, and it had a significant impact on him.

On that particular day, he came across a dog that had recently given birth to puppies and was visibly malnourished. The sight of her suffering deeply affected him, which prompted him to start feeding her on a daily basis. This act of kindness marked the beginning of his journey as an animal lover, and it only grew from there. He simply couldn’t bear to witness dogs in pain or discomfort without doing something to help them.

Baines had an epiphany one day and decided that he needed to take action to help the unfortunate stray dogs in his community. Ever since that day, Baines has made it his mission to feed these dogs once a day, having mapped out three different routes with a total of 17 stops. During his daily commute from his residence to work, he makes eight stops, providing food for around 30 dogs. Once he has had breakfast at his restaurant, Baines packs more food and sets out on his second run, stopping at eight or nine locations to feed approximately 30 to 35 hungry canines. Furthermore, he feeds six more dogs outside his restaurant and another four to five dogs on his journey back home after a long day at work.

Baines feeds his furry companions with a combination of dry food, boiled rice, vegetable oil, and bouillon. To add flavor, he mixes in a blend of boiled chicken, pork, and fish. Additionally, every month, he includes a preventive powder to keep various parasites such as worms, ticks, and fleas at bay. He mostly covers the costs himself or receives them through generous donations.

Back in 2003, Baines and his better half, Gill Dalley, established The Soi Dog Foundation, a charitable organization that offers refuge to stray dogs. The foundation’s mission statement prioritizes the welfare of dogs and cats in Asia, striving to enhance the quality of life for both animals and humans alike. They aim to create a world where there are no homeless animals and put an end to animal cruelty once and for all.

Presently, the Soi Dog Foundation possesses a specialized facility for cats and an advanced medical center for dogs – making it the most extensive and all-encompassing hospital in Asia and, conceivably, worldwide. The hospital is solely dedicated to offering the finest care for street dogs. Gill’s efforts were focused on creating and supervising the construction of the dog hospital for four years before her death. She made a promise to give her cherished street dogs the best possible medical care, which she fulfilled through this magnificent hospital.

Unfortunately, Gill lost his battle with cancer in early 2017, which was a great loss. However, Baines has continued his dedication to the Soi Dog Foundation and the street dogs and cats. His efforts have not gone unnoticed, as he was awarded an MBE in Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday honours in 2020 for his exceptional services to animal welfare in Southeast Asia.

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