Marcela Cacciola keeps himself very busy. As one of the directors of The Soi Dog Foundation in Miami, he devotes his time and energy to helping save dogs in Thailand, where the animals are often abandoned and left to their own devices.
Five years ago, while traveling through Phuket, Cacciola was surprised to find so many stray dogs wandering around the beaches there. Instead of leaving the dogs to starve, he decided to get involved in the effort to save them. After some initial research, he found The Soi Dog Foundation and wrote an email to the founder, John Dalley, asking if he might volunteer.
While the people of Thailand do not eat dog meat, oftentimes the dogs are caught and transported to Vietnam where they are brought to slaughterhouses. The meat is then transported to other Asian countries that do consider dog meat a delicacy.
The Soi Dog Foundation has built a strong “global awareness campaign,” so it’s very easy to get involved in the cause. Many celebrities, from Ricky Gervais to Judi Dench, have joined the fray and helped spread the word.
According to Marcela, “As many people who know what’s going on, the better. That will result in more donations, more awareness, and more pressure on the government and other officials to stop this barbaric practice.”
Thus far, the organization has sterilized over 70,000 dogs, and has sheltered more than 500 dogs who couldn’t survive on the streets by themselves. The average rate of adoption is up to 30-50 a month now, and can be done in Phuket or Bangkok. Many go to homes in Europe or North America, and the adoption process is fairly straightforward (there’s not even a quarantine process for North American adoptions!).