Thailand's Temple of the Dogs is Located in Chiang Mai

Thailand's Temple of the Dogs is Located in Chiang Mai

Into the Bodhisattva's arms

It was 5 p.m., and I was pursuing an angel on the grounds of the Temple of the Sun. As the rain began to fall, I began to worry whether she would ever show up at all. It has been shown that the rain patterns in Chiang Mai are closely tied to the contents of my purse. Rain may cease in a matter of seconds or pour down for days as a consequence of the weather phenomenon, depending on whether or not I've remembered to bring my umbrella. I had not done so.

I raised my eyes to the big Chedi, a Lanna-style stupa that attracts people from all around Northern Thailand. Squinting into the raindrops, I looked up at the massive Chedi. Although it is remarkable, I am curious as to how such a massive structure could have sat unattended for 700 years without any doors being installed. Surely it has poured before in this location.

What is the best place to hide? I had absolutely no intention of taking refuge in either of the two charming small buildings in front of me. It's stunningly created, without a doubt! Each, however, has a wax reproduction of an old monk who is seated in a transparent box. To pass the time, put them in the category of "far too realistic looking." What can I say? I'm stumped. I'm bothered by the lack of blinking. Apart from that, if wax can attain the lotus posture, why can't I do the same?

To get away from the torrential downpour, I built a gazebo with three enormous Buddhas on it to provide cover. I'm sure I'm not the only one. The temple's inhabitants began to trickle in one by one. One of them immediately sank to the ground on a mat that he had clearly set out for such occasions. Two more just sat down and licked their own bottoms. By the time the skies cleared entirely, three additional temple dogs had wandered into the refuge.

Carrying dog biscuits is simply something I do on a regular basis. I could try to explain myself, but people either understand or don't care. I flung five goodies into the air and then turned to the sixth dog, Lek, to reward him (Thai for little). She had disappeared without a trace. This is not feasible. Would she be willing to go back out into the rain? The Chedi is equipped with a dog door on one of its sides.

I relinquished Lek's biscuit to a Weimaraner who seemed to be from the 1800s. Predictably, it was at that point that I saw her. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of her seated in the right hand of a Buddhist monk. When she yawned, she snuggled nicely into Buddha's arms and quickly went to sleep. Even after six years of frequenting the temple, Wat Chedi Luang continues to bring a smile to my face, even if It's possible that's why I keep coming back.

Chedi Luang's guardian angels

To be more specific, as stated on the contribution box, "it all began around 10 years ago." It was Ajarn Rosocon, a teacher at Chiang Mai's Rajabaht University, who decided to make it her goal to care for the dogs of Wat Chedi Luang and the adjacent Wat Phan Tau. Ajarn is a Thai word that means "teacher." This temple complex was where she received some of her most valuable teachings. This collection of distinct Buddhist places has been changed from a possible hell into the canine equivalent of Nirvana.

Initially, Ajarn Rosocon relied on the assistance of classmates and friends to care for the dogs. They fed, sterilized, treated mange, vaccinated, and otherwise took care of the animals using the pennies (baht) they had saved up over the years. The organization was adamant that the dogs of Chedi Luang and Phan Tau would not meet the same fate as the thousands of abandoned and ill temple canines who have been abandoned and sickened throughout Southeast Asia.

Ajarn Rosocon passed away suddenly in 2005. Ann Pierce, a friend, and Khun Soonthree, another dedicated friend and student, stepped in to help. They carried on Rosocon's dream as if it were their own, and in doing so, they paid tribute to a friend's memory by assisting the poor. Eventually, Khun Soonthree earned the title of "Angel of Chedi Luang" in the eyes of many.

Taking a tour of the temples

Wat Chedi Luang has evolved into a haven not just for dog lovers, but for all animal enthusiasts in general. Travelers who have gotten overwhelmed by the sight and misery of street dogs, or who want a peaceful retreat, might stop at this "feel-good" temple in Bangkok. You should give it a go. Play tourist, snap photographs, touch a willing pooch, or bring a picnic-anything you want to do is fine with us. Then, around 6 p.m., keep an eye out for the angel. Khun Soonthree continues to provide food and care for the temple canines more than a year after Ajarn Rosocon's death.

According to rumors, she never skips a day. She was in the area during the rainy season, during which her own house was flooded on multiple occasions. When Lek and I took cover from the storm, she was there to greet us. Her bright yellow rain slicker and a large pot of rice mixture kept her dry and warm throughout the torrential downpour. If it's 6 o'clock in the morning in Chiang Mai, she'll get there immediately.

The ancient Chedi is the main attraction in Wat Chedi Luang's temple complex, which attracts the majority of visitors. Furthermore, its gorgeous grounds are ideal for roaming about in peace and quiet, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Vendors sell food and beverages, including iced tea. Shade is provided by trees and seats that are comfortable to sit in. The Buddha pictures housed in the adjacent Wat Phan Tau are bathed in a beautiful teak light generated by the temple.

Better yet, the appropriately named "Monk Chat" section provides guests with a warm welcome to take up a chair and, as the name implies, engage in friendly conversation with monks. When foreign tourists just hang out with Buddhist monks in a casual setting, it provides an excellent venue for exchanging questions and learning about one another's life. The voices of novice monks may be heard in the background, echoing forth from the classroom windows.

Who's who in this group?

Of course, for a select handful of us, the temples also hold an additional precious treasure: the canines. Not everyone is outgoing. Not everyone is loyal. Some people are downright obnoxious. However, being familiar with the "who's who" of Chedi Luang canines adds to the enjoyment of each visit. True, most visitors aren't even aware of them unless they're taking a fast sidestep away from them. I, on the other hand, have given most of the regulars nicknames, as have many others.

Consider the characters Ren and Stumpy. Ren, a little twig of a dog, serves as the duo's defining characteristic. Stumpy, who has a front limb that has been wrenched up below, adds a little bulk to the group, which is a key asset in the realm of temple dog politics. The two may be discovered on a building terrace with a view of the Chedi's north face, where they can be seen side by side.

Ren works her magic, enchanting the guests with passionate welcomes and a warm welcome. Abracadabra! Stumpy then demonstrates his handicap. Any visitor with half a heart makes a beeline for the omnipresent "5 baht meat-on-a-stick" seller, who sells meat on a stick for only 5 baht. "There's no need to heat it up, sir."

The Lady is the next character. She collaborates with a local artist by carefully luring visitors to his postcard rack, which he uses to sell his work. From there, guests may have a close-up look at his beautiful hand-drawn paintings. I have a sneaking suspicion that the lady is collecting a commission.

Friendly When it comes to appearances, Little Lek is somewhere in the middle of the pack. Every dog, on the other hand, is gorgeous when it is sleeping in Buddha's arms.

Not everything is perfect. Initially, I believed Hiccup had been poisoned since he looked so ill. Now I see that the constant hacking must be a medical issue. Perhaps a bone has become wedged someplace... I'm at a loss for words. Hiccup is very photogenic, despite the fact that he is not particularly gregarious.

The three Golden Boys guard the entrance to Chedi Luang from the outside. At the very least, I believe they are boys. They are seldom seen standing. Khun Soonthree feeds his animals here first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening. When you consider the size of the Golden Boys, it's a little surprising that there is any food left over for the other temple canines.

Lucy, the Teddy Bear dog, lives just across the street from them. Even if you hadn't seen any seams or a price tag before her haircut, you would have expected to see them afterward.

No one knows precisely how many dogs dwell in Chedi Luang, although it is believed to be around the 60s. The Cookie Monster, whose cantankerous attitude and drab appearance are more than offset by the fact that he is the only one who truly enjoys the dreary old dry dog biscuits that I provide, is among the most memorable characters. Khun Soonthree's cuisine, it seems, is preferred by others over mine.

Scar and her three pups live on the north face of the Chedi with their mother. Some dogs show up at the temple with puppies in their bellies. Her pups, Goldie, Blackie, and Coco Puff, on the other hand, are properly taken care of.

The most recent one that I've come across is titled, "Oh Crap, Where Are My Ears?" Oh Crap..., or Ears for short, is a pet that has been abandoned. He seemed to be much too despondent. It's as though he's longing for a master to take him in. His preference is for jerky snacks, or even larger ears as a substitute for larger ears.

Chubby, a pseudo-red Chow, and Pigeon Chaser are the most charismatic of the animals at Wat Phan Tau, according to the locals. The pigeon chaser can easily outrun any domestic chicken, but if he ever develops wings, the wild birds will be in serious trouble. The youthful monks at Phan Tau are particularly fond of their temple dogs, which number in the hundreds at the monastery. It is certainly a pleasure to see them engage with one another. Saffron robes and merry tails coexist in this world.

Ann Pierce's description of Chedi Luang's effect on animal lovers is the finest way to sum it up. In an email interview, Ann, a previous volunteer with the dogs who has since returned to California, stated the following in an email interview: "I used to help with the dogs when I was younger."

I am at a loss for words when it comes to expressing the influence that the dogs, Ajarn Rosocon, Khun Soonthree, Wat Chedi Luang, and all of the other individuals I encountered during my stay in Chiang Mai have had on me. Because of my experiences, I've become a totally different person. My hope is to one day return to Chiang Mai and continue to assist the animals, no matter how irritating it may be at times. "My dream is to one day return to Chiang Mai and continue to help the animals, no matter how frustrating it can be at times."

How to get there

To go to Wat Chedi Luang, you'll need to take a Tuk Tuk. This well-known shrine is well-known to most drivers. If you're traveling by foot, enter the ancient city by the well-known Tha Phae Gate (east moat gate) and go straight up Ratchadamnoen Road for approximately four blocks until you reach the first street light, which is Phra Pokklao Road. Take a left. On your right, you'll notice the magnificent teakwood temple of Wat Phan Tau, which is worth a visit. Take a peek around the interior. The grander complex of Wat Chedi Luang is situated just next door.

Please keep in mind that wats are first and foremost Buddhist temple complexes. Dress appropriately and have a courteous demeanor. They are under no obligation to allow the guests or the pets to remain. By setting a good example for others, you will be honored yourself.

What can you do to assist?

Visit Chedi Luang, have a fantastic time, and then share the word about your experience.

During the hours of 5:30 to 6:00 p.m. each night, feeding begins at the main door. Arrive at Khun Soonthree's office and express your admiration for her efforts.

Please consider making a gift to one of the three dog donation boxes that have been put up around the Chedi. Your donation will be used to provide food, immunizations, mange treatment, sterilization of females (and males when it is financially feasible), and general care for the animals.

At the moment, a significant repair project is underway at the main Wat. Providing support for the building project, the temple, and the temple's school is beneficial to all of the community's people, including the two- and four-legged (or three-legged - sorry Stumpy).

Getting the most out of your visiting experience!

Never approach a dog that seems apprehensive. Get to know the friendly creatures on a more gradual basis. Their continuing socialization, or at the very least their lack of interest in other people, prevents them from outstaying their welcome at the temple.

Don't bring too many delicious cookies: bacon, pig rings, a side of meat, and so on. The larger dogs will follow, and battles with the smaller dogs that are helpless may occur. On the spectrum of taste, dry old dog treats are at the bottom of the list. To put it another way, they are an excellent and low-cost way of providing food to people who will consume it later. If in doubt, make a charitable donation in lieu of spending the money. It is delivered to the correct location.

Providing assistance to dogs in Chiang Mai

If you reside in Thailand, you may want to think about how you might help improve the world, one temple at a time. Consult with angels and/or adopt your own temple (with the approval of the monks) for guidance. Make it a project for your family, company, class, or group. Consult with a qualified veterinarian. Dr. Nook in Chiang Mai is really fantastic!

Lanna Dog Rescue and Care for Dogs are two more groups that provide assistance to dogs in the Chiangmai region's temples. Both organizations have websites and are continuously searching for volunteers as well as financial, food, and material gifts.

In addition, Care for Dogs maintains a great shelter where healthy rescued dogs and pups may be adopted into loving families. Please keep in mind that for every new pet that finds a home, a spot is created in their facility for a dog who is in need of assistance. What a wonderful way to make a difference, one dog at a time.


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