Headrock Dogs Rescue (HDR) sits amid swaying coconut trees just off the quiet beaches of Bang Saphan on the Gulf of Thailand and is a small operation powered by the will and drive of UK-born Verity Cattanach Poole and her husband Suthep Samkuntod (Thep) . , a native of Thailand. The couple have dedicated their lives to protecting, healing and housing the region’s abandoned dogs, which are unfortunately a legion.
The number of dogs looked after by HDR varies but is rarely less than 70, and many are pups who are regularly dumped on the shelter grounds or at a nearby Buddhist temple (HDR also looks after the temple’s many dogs) . HDR is an open shelter; While puppies are safely kept in pens, adolescent and adult dogs have room to run and sort themselves into groups. Every day is full of tasks: the dogs need regular bathing and brushing, as well as eye and skin treatments, medication and feeding. Your sleeping areas, food bowls, and puppy pens need cleaning. Equally important, they need human kindness and attention, which is vital in transforming them from fearful and traumatized to frolicking and joyful.
To do this fine job, Verity and Thep rely on the help of volunteers, many of whom are backpacking the country. Or professionals like John Thai, a Belgian photographer who is not afraid to get his hands dirty in the service of animals. Every year, Thai donates its time and skills to human causes. In the past he has volunteered at the Iberian Wolf Recovery Center in Portugal and the Elephant Nature Park in Thailand.
“It wasn’t just extreme seeing dogs that were sometimes on the verge of dying to become playful and happy. Experience teaches you that all dogs, if treated well, can be left natural.”