Going nowhere

Wednesday, June 08, 2016
Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
I feel as if I have neglected the blog a little of recent but it has been a concious decision and through choice and not due to the fact I have been too busy to write any entries. The last time I was in Langkawi at the animal shelter I only updated it once a week and even at times then it was hard to find to content to write about. It's not that nothing has happened at all but when you park up and stay at the same place for a month and look after dogs and cats 7 hours a day, 6 days a week you almost assume that not much is going on and that you have little of interest to write about. I now regret not writing more often this time as there are stories to tell and I hope I can still put some sort of shine on the more interesting detials and events that have happened.

A few days ago I had the half hour from hell when it comes to animal care at a stray cat and dog shelter . I had left Dani with the dogs in the shelter yard doing the usual rotation of letting the dogs out in small groups and had gone round to the clinic to start the evening feed of the dogs that live there. Having fed a few of the dogs at the front I looked out the window and saw a local guy who had brought his ginger cat in for some treatment the day before running about like a mad man. Some how his cat had escaped from the basket when he had came to collect it and it must be said this cat looked seriously high still on whatever drugs it had been given. It didn't know where it was and had no control of it's back lags which were skipping and dancing about like a giddy spring lamb. I threw down the bowls of dog biscuits I was carrying and ran outside. Between the two of us we tried to steer the cat away from bounding and hopping onto the busy road like a feline salmon up a river. It crashed into walls, span round like a drunk teenager and hopped into the air like a prize Kangaroo. This poor cat had no control over it's actions or where it was headed . Just when we thought we had it cornered between us it leapt around 4ft into the air and started bouncing down the road amongst the speeding traffic. The guy leapt out and brought all the cars to a halt and eventually the cat sprung sideways into some under growth swiftly followed by it's owner. A few minutes later after watching this dude comically thrashing around in the greenery he surfaced with a very confused cat in his arms. Phew, a good result in the end but a frantic few minutes when I really thought this cat had used all it's 9 lives up.

With my heart starting to return to a normal beat I headed back into the clinic and sorted out the next bowls of biscuits that I had thrown down earlier. As I headed back out again I stood in bewilderment at the sight of one of the dogs I had fed first running off down the road side with a new sense of freedom. Grief, what the hell was going on here. A spaced out cat immediately followed by an escapee dog. So down with the biscuits yet again and off I headed sprinting down the road with my arms waving about like a mad man on acid trying to do semaphore in an attempt to slow the cars down incase the dog bolted across the road . And thus began 5 minutes of chase the dog. Up and down the road we went like a canine epsiode of Benny Hill, back to the front of the clinic where the other dogs that were tethered appeared to want to tear it's poor head off, back onto the road, back into the resort, oh my days. It seemed to be enjoying this game. Occasionally stopping and wagging it's tail, letting me get to within inches of grabbing it's collar before bolting off again with a cheeky look in it's eyes. Eventually as do many of the escapee dogs at the shelter it seemed to tire of the game and ran out of ideas of where to go. They love the freedom at first and the thrill of the chase but eventually they seem to start to wonder what to do next and where their next meal will come from. A bit red faced and sweating like a race horse I was finally able to go straight up to the poor thing as it stood still and lead it back into it's pen. Excitement over for the day, but a decent bit of exercise non the less.

This escapade was swiftly followed a few days later by us worming and de fleaing around 70 cats at the shelter . I remember my mam and dad giving our cat it's worming tablet when I was a wee nipper and it was never too keen on taking it be fair but it also didn't seem to claw them to death either. We spent around an hour doing this the wrong way until Felicia popped in to check and showed us the best way to give the tablets. This seemed to work on most cats however every so often we came across one of satans minions that wanted to claw our jugular veins out and then spit in our eye. One in particular I'm sure was the inspiration for Geiger's Alien design in the film. There was no way to even get close to this mini beast of doom without it opening it's jaws as wide as the channel tunnel and displaying it's mighty array of spear like fangs. Needless to say this was a long tiresome afternoon in the Langkawi heat. We eventually got finished around 7pm and I'm glad this is something that only needs doing once a month as I couldn't handle this again in a hurry. Interesting experience I guess but I much prefer stroking these little beauties and hearing them purr as opposed to popping my fingers in their mouths and trying to get them back out in one piece before they clamp back down in fear .

I'm obviously no Vet but last week Dani and myself had to go down to the clinic after it had shut to check on a lovely cat named Ben. He's a big fella and unfortunately he had a fair bit of blood in his urine and was on a saline drip as well as having a catheter attached to him to monitor his water works. The vet was away for a few days and Felicia had asked for us to check on him and also to change his drip bag. The bag part wasn't a problem but after speaking with Felicia I was asked to take his catheter out for him so that he could just wee into his tray as opposed to the bag attached to him. It wasn't the best of lines to Felicia and I thought I understood what to do, oh how wrong I was. I nearly pulled the poor lads willy off! (I think that sounds a little wrong somehow) I looked a bit closer and it was obviously stitched on. The little squeals he let out were heart breaking. A few phone calls later I finally sussed out what to do and removed his tube correctly without any more damage to his gentleman's parts . Poor lad, I'm sure he hasn't forgiven me still.

I think it's safe to say the rainy season has arrived here as well. In typical style we had one week where it was blisteringly beautiful for around 4 days then as soon as we got to our day off it lashed down like something out of a disaster film. It's been a welcome relief at times though as the heat can become unbearable and you keep watching the sky praying for the clouds to build. You also know when it's coming as well as suddenly a breeze appears, then it whips up into a strong wind and a few minutes later its suddenly thrown down around 2 inches of water, it's crazy.

The time has suddenly slipped by and it doesn't feel like we have been here a month at all however it also feels like an age since we were leaving Koh Lipe to head here. Leaving the shelter has been really hard this time as we have really become attatched to the dogs and it's very touching to see the difference you make to their day and life when you show them love and attention . We have sat for many nights talking about our favourites and before you know it we have worked our way through every single one of them as they are such unique individuals. They are all our favourites in their own way. It's also been great to spend some time with the 8 dog's that stay in the small lane where our accomodation is. These dogs don't really get any interaction other than the lads feeding them and although it's taken a little while for some of them to become confident enough to approach us they now come running over with wagging tails whenever we pop in to spend some time with them.

As we came to leave on Monday and said our goodbyes to the animals we got stopped by Narelle the lady who owns the place. We had a really good chat about the dogs and how they've responded so well to the extra attention we have been abe to give. Narelle is very kind and after the chat we found it really hard to tear ourselves away from the place. We had planned on having an extra couple of nights in Langkawi before heading on to Thailand by train and in that time we did a lot of talking and thinking about the dogs . We hated the fact that the dogs would be left with just the three Bangladeshi lads who work here as although they provide the basics such as walking and feeding them they don't show any real affection towards them either or go out of their way to make sure that the dogs are enjoing themselves and having fun during afternoon rotation. We spent a lot of time working out what we want to do with the rest of our trip and if wasn't too long until the next volunteer was due to arrive we agreed that we would stay on a bit longer to cover the gap until they did.

So....we haven't moved anywhere yet! Caught up in the black hole that is Langkawi. We have always said that although we have some good friends here and we love the animals it isn't the most exciting of places in Asia. There isn't a massive amount to do here compared to some of the places we have been lucky to visit to the point where I would say it's actually boring. Even on days off it's hard to find things to do or places to go and see that you haven't experienced before but that said we have somehow been sucked back into it . It's not a bad thing though really, we will still have the time to get round the other places we want to see in Asia during this trip and if anything it will make them that little bit more affordable as some of them were starting to feel like un-realistic options due to cost etc. It's also been nice to get to know some new people while we have been here this time, particularly along at Frankie's bar which is popular with both locals and ex pat's. We have met some very nice people and again been shown a lot of generosity and kindness towards us. It's one of the aspects of traveling I love so much. The fact that if you don't rush round everything as if it's a Facebook photo competition then you get a much better feel for a place and also opportunities that would most likely pass you by suddenly crop up out of nowhere. We have a few options over the next month or so and we will take it as it comes and see what happens.

On a side note Dodgy Dan the British stalking fraudster that I mentioned in my last entry was picked up and arrested in Kuala Lumpur the other day for trespassing in a hotel. I'm not quite sure what he wad doing but obviously up to no good as always if he was arrested for it.

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