Of mad dogs and madder Englishmen.

Saturday, May 28, 2016
Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
It was finally time to wave goodbye to Koh Lipe and head off to pastures new. We would gladly have stayed there much longer but our bank balance would have been ruined by doing so. We also had to make sure we caught the ferry over to Langkawi before the service stops running for the close season due to worsening weather and bad seas.

Arriving in Langkawi it was like I had never been away from the place . I did around 5 months worth of volunteering in total on my last trip split over three different visits and we intend to do at least another month at the animal shelter this time around. Narele uses the profits from her various ventures in Malaysia to fund the up keep of the animal shelter which is home to around 50 dogs at the Bon Ton site as well as many more at a second site on the island. It is also home to many cats as well, too many to even put a figure on. I enjoy working here. The dogs are lovely and really appreciate a little love and time spent with them. It's also been a great help to myself coming here. When I was just three I was bitten in the eye by our dog at home, nearly losing my eye in the process as it sank it's jaws in above and below my eye ball. Despite being so young and not having too much recollection of the event other than seeing red as blood poured out it affected me massively for years to come. I developed a huge fear of dogs and wasn't able to go anywhere near a dog again until I was well into my twenties . Spending time with the dogs at the shelter has totally eradicated that fear now so I guess both myself and the dogs get some good therapy from me being here.

It's great that a lot of the dogs still remember me from last time so I like to think I made a positive impact in their lives. Each one has it's own story. Some are strays, many have been neglected or subject to horrible abuse before coming to the shelter so it's really rewarding to show them some kidness and love and see the difference it makes to them each day. I've taken up my previous role of walking in the morning followed by feeding then spending some time with the dogs in small groups on an afternoon to give them a little more play time outside of their pens. As well as this usual routine I have been involved with helping the three Bangladeshi lads who work here around the resort. Helping replace some roofing and sweeping up around the place. It's been a busy first week but enjoyable non the less. Dani has been helping in the clinic with the cats . Cleaning them out on a morning and feeding them as well as disinfecting the cat shelter as there has been some kind of virus going round as a few were found dead the other morning. Hopefully it works and there will be no more deaths now.

There have also been another couple of volunteers here with us until today from the UK as well. James and Pheobe, a really nice couple. The other day a walk in volunteer came along to help walk the dogs in the morning as well and she showed us a flyer some guy had handed out on the beach. He was looking for extras for a new programme being filmed for Channel 4 about two English lads and two American girls backpacking in Asia. They are here shooting some scenes in Langkawi for the next couple of weeks so we rang the guy and myself Dani, James and Pheobe all went along to a casting after work. It was quite fun, having several photos taken as well as being measured up for outfits etc. We don't get too much free time from the shelter but hopefully they get in touch at some point . Typically James and Pheobe left today to head over to Penang and this evening I recieved a text from the producer asking if they were free for shooting later this week! It's amazing at times the random opportunities that crop up when your away traveling.

Dani's birthday was an interesting couple of nights as well since we have been here. A couple of nights along Pantai Cenang at a guy named Frankie's bar. It's a pretty cool place tucked away upstairs behind a simple door on the main strip. Frankie doesn't really advertise the place or promote it as he says he likes to get the right crowd in there as oppose to a big crowd. It's mainly ex pats and locals who get in so it has a nice chilled out feel with the regulars that know about the place. Safe to say we can't remember much about leaving the two nights we spent in there and also safe to say that we will return again at some point before we leave.

As well as catching up with the cats and dogs it's been nice to catch up with the humans I know here as well . Dorothy and Jerome are still here and were kind enough to take us out for a very nice seafood dinner the other night at a great Chinese place tucked away in a place we would never have spotted. Zul and his wife Nozareen both still work at the resort and it's been nice to catch up with them again. Felitia the king pin of all things to do with the shelter is still here and we work with her every day and even the on our first day we were walking down the road back from the supermarket when a car pulled over and Jeff whose couch I slept on for a week the first time I ever came to Langkawi gave us a lift back to the shelter. The strange thing was we were walking down the road with our backs to him and he still recognised me!

As well as the shelter we've also done a little flat and pet sitting for Lyn a girl who used to be shelter manager here a few years ago. It was a nice break from our digs at the shelter with some refreshingly cool aircon and the company of her dog Nes and her seven cats . We also had the use of her car which proved to be an interesting reward when I was suddenly face to face with her stalker Daniel. An English lad who jumped bail in the UK for fraud and has since been hiding out in Langkawi. Well not really hiding out as such as they can't get an international warrant for him so he's keeping far from a low profile here seeing as the sight of Lyn's car drew him into the shelter like a moth to light. He's a strange one for sure and I'm hoping we don't meet him again. I have also recently started to re-name a lot of the dogs in my head. Either by famous people that they look like (kind of) or I have created stories in my mind as to their life and background and named them as if they were people. I'll grab some more photos and explain on my next entry, hopefully it works!

And that is our first two weeks in Langkawi. Maybe not as interesting an entry as the Thai 'families' in the last one but it still feels like a lot has happened and I'm sure I have missed a lot of things with not writing as regularly as I usually do. I started writing this entry after the first week with the intention of doing a weekly update and it's taken me two weeks to finally finish it. Our days are fairly long and busy and at times our nights are random with meals and sporadic nights out so I have had less time to invest in the blog, but that's maybe not a bad thing. The time is flying past here and as much as it feels like we have been here for more than two weeks I have a feeling the next two will disapear very quickly and before we know it we will be headed to pastures new yet again. Let's what happens and where life takes us this time.

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