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Couple Moves To Thai Island, Adopts 15 Strays After Losing Their Beloved 10 Y.O. Doggo

While the famous saying states that dogs are man’s best friends, Lithuanian couple Mantas and Rasa have turned it around. The couple has become the best friends of all the stray dogs living on Koh Kood island since they moved to Thailand six years ago. They fell in love not only with the island and relaxed locals, but with its canines as well, and have since adopted 15 strays. Mantas and Rasa are not only taking care of their adoptive pets, but also drive 40 km every day to feed strays, give them medicine, and do daily check-ups since there are no vets or animal rescues on the island. Scroll down for their story.

While you could easily think this is a story about people creating a shelter or an animal rescue, this is not. However, it might be even more wholesome. Mantas and his wife Rasa left their home country Lithuania six years ago to travel around Thailand. Little did they know then that they’d fall in love with the Thai island Koh Kood so much, they would decide to move there permanently.

While they were still traveling, the couple lost their beloved ten-year-old boxer named Aibo, who was then back in Lithuania. “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 the loss, they made the decision to stay in Koh Kood and adopt a local pup. While they had 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.”

Taking care of such a big family is definitely not only sunshine and rainbows. “The landlord of our house, which we rented for many years, refused to extend our rent. We literally became homeless with our big family, as our former landlord was far 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, my wife and I created Sabai Dog Koh Kood [their Facebook page]. The word ‘sabai’ in the Thai language means ‘happy.’ We want Koh Kood dogs to be happy and healthy,” Mantas writes on said Facebook page.

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 there. “We are no vets by far, but as time passed, we didn’t even notice how we learned to deal with serious wounds and got more and more medical knowledge about different diseases,” the couple says.

The couple explains that most dogs have a terrible skin disease called canine mange, which can be demodex or sarcoptic. 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 malnutrition, since the only food they can get is rice. They are trying their best to help, but have limited funds. You can find more info on how to support them here or at the end of this post. 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.

Mantas and Rasa devote all of their free time to Koh Kood dogs. They drive 40 km every day to feed stray dogs, give them medicine, and do daily check-ups. After all this time, there are still no vets on the island, which makes the pair the closest thing the island has. “For serious cases like dogs losing limbs in the traps, deep open wounds, or unknown cases, we take dogs to the mainland by a boat and then drive 100 km to a vet clinic or even 700 km 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 not only try to help as many dogs as they can themselves, but also try to see the bigger picture and take care of Koh Kood’s entire dog population. They reached out to all possible vet schools, clinics, and organizations back in 2015, asking for help controlling 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 on the island.