Soi Dogs and The Bucket Truck Man

Soi dogs can be quite a nuisance. They are always fighting. I’ll excuse the two stood up in the top photo because they’re ours, Gaan and Cola to be precise. They enjoy a good rumble in the jungle so to speak, especially if the opposing team is smaller in size or lighter in numbers. Mind you when the odds are against them they do themselves put up quite a fight. See the photo below.

Trust me, in the end the calf backed off. Just as well because my camera was pointing at a fair bit of compensation if the soi handbags had flown. Gaan always stands his ground, no matter what dog, or how many there may be. I’ve even seen him stand hoof to paw with a buffalo. Cola’s a little too smart to do that. Of course they can always call in the cavalry.

The problem the cavalry have is one can’t see exactly where he is going and for the other, not having the strength to get there can hinder any back-up rescue operation.

I have been assured Pepsi, pictured left, has two eyes but I’m certain he wouldn’t know the difference between a pig and a python. Hopefully he’ll only ever meet the pig. Pepsi is the star of one of my most popular humour themed posts It Started With a Kiss. Maki pictured right, is just a pup.

Now to the point of my post. Whenever I stay in Wilai’s village I’m always on the lookout for the bucket truck man. The bucket truck man visits villages and trades buckets and other tupperware for unwanted dogs. The dogs are then transported to Laos, eventually the dogs end up in Vietnamese restaurants. Life in rural Thailand has an excellent post and pictures on the bucket truck man. That post inspired one of my own, Ting Tong and Dong.

For the past couple of years I have been trying to get a photo of the bucket truck man passing by our village home but I always seem to mishap on the occasions. You can guarantee if I have my camera primed and ready he won’t pass by but if I haven’t then he’s sure to appear. The bucket truck man comes by once or twice a week. Below is the best picture I’ve managed so far, it was at quite a distance and the image has been cropped. It’s rather fuzzy as well. If you squint really hard you can just make out a couple of the dogs noses poking out from the cage bars. Cola is the dog watching the truck go by. He and Gaan normally chase after it. Foolish if you ask me.

On my stay in Thailand next month I’m determined to get some good shots of the bucket truck man. In the meantime I’ve got a couple of questions for my readers who are resident in Thai villages or perhaps those who like me have spent a lot of time in one.

  • Does the bucket truck run through your village and if so how do the locals feel about it.
  • I once read Thais general mistreatment or general lack of care towards dogs relates to their Buddhist beliefs. Dogs are said to have been people who had wronged in their previous life and returned as lower beings. Have you heard of this before.

Cola and Gaan chase the bucket truck in the hope of yet another rumble in the jungle, but I’m sure if those poor dogs were let out they’d be so happy they would probably lick Cola and Gaan half to death. I just know Cola and Gaan are never going to join them. Our dogs aren’t ever heading for a Vietnamese dinner plate with a salad side dish.

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I'm a sixty-year-old Englishman living in the town of Swindon in rural Wiltshire and I have a real deep desire to retire in Thailand one day. If you don't have a dream then you won't have a dream come true.

22 Responses

  1. Paul says:

    Hi Martyn, these guys would occasionally come to the village where we lived. The Thais refer to them as Maa Laaek Ku (หมาแลกคุ)or ‘exchange a dog for a bucket’. I found the whole thing to be a bit of a nasty business.

  2. Hoo Don says:

    Paul thanks for the Thai name for the bucket truck, I’ll write it down in my blog book, it’ll come in handy.

    A nasty business…..I love dogs so I can only agree with you on that one but….when in Rome……It’s another example of the huge cultural differences which exist between modern Western and basic Eastern cultures. I really do feel sorry for the dogs but no matter what noise I could make (I don’t) it would make no difference. Mai phen rai krap.

  3. Paul says:

    As you say Martyn, it is part a cultural thing. I do find it hard to see animals mistreated though. I hate it when I’m out in the car and see cows or pigs jammed into trucks and looking so uncomfortable – I think it’s a bit shameful really; I actually went vegetarian partly because of it.

  4. Hoo Don says:

    Paul the last time I was in Ban Dung I was sat outside a bar when every now and then cattle trucks went by. By sods law I missed out on getting good photos but I did get some long range fuzzy ones. When I looked at them later I was appalled. The cows were crammed in with zero space between them. One had collapsed into the back netting, it was terrible to see.

    I’m a part vegetarian. I love burgers, you don’t get much meat in them.

  5. Mike says:

    Martyn no bucket truck here.

    I do care about animals and have blogged about their mistreatment in Thailand many times but its a cultural divide that will never be bridged.

    That said I do see quite a few compassionate Thais taking food to dogs that have been abandoned near the highway and that have formed packs.

  6. Snap says:

    I’ve never heard of or seen a bucket truck man, but will keep my eyes peeled and perhaps a set of bolt cutters in my back pocket. I too cannot tolerate any sort of cruelty to animals, which is sometimes seen in Vietnam also.

    I don’t have a problem if all is done humanley, but after watching a doco on dog farms, in Korea I think…I just couldn’t bare the thought of chowing down on a bowl of dog.

    On our third trip to VN, Stray said he wouldn’t mind tasting dog meat (thịt chó), but luckily the dog meat cafes were nowhere to be seen on our chosen route 🙂

    I’m interested to read any feedback about the Buddhist theory.

  7. Erich R. Sysak says:

    Same problem with noisy, fighting soi dogs in Sakon. I carry a BB gun when I go for long walks to keep the strays away from my ankles.

  8. Catherine says:

    It’s a horrible thought – our pets on the menu.

    The Tiger Temple receives bad press over them supposedly sending endangered tigers to China for ‘you know’.

    Rabbits, horse, deer… all the warm and fuzziest coming to a plate near you.

    But do you know how the ordinary chicken is slain en mass?

    I know… I know… it’s me going on yet again.

    (Martyn, you seriously need to get me my own soap box 😉

  9. Talen says:

    I have never seen the bucket truck when up country and hope I never do. But even the family dog in Mukdahan is just barely a pet. I think his main purpose is to guard the house at night as he barks at everything.

    I wonder how many of us have actually eaten dog without knowing it?

  10. Hoo Don says:

    Mike I didn’t think you would have seen the bucket truck as I think it’s a North and Northeast thing, the dogs are driven over the border and into Laos.

    Compassionate Thais feeding strays, that’s good to read but I’d be very wary about approaching a pack of Thai dogs. I’d need big stones for my catapult and lots of them.

  11. Hoo Don says:

    Snap sorry about the late reply but I went out and had a few too many sherberts. Now my comment gets a bit ugh..

    When I wrote Ting Tong and Dong which is about the bucket truck and the dogs being delivered to Vietnam, I did a bit of research. The dog farms there string the dogs up alive and beat them to death, apparently it makes the meat more tender. Horrid stuff.

    I must admit I wouldn’t knowingly eat dog meat, that would really upset me. I’m a big dog lover.

  12. Hoo Don says:

    Erich welcome to the Juice. I think a BB gun is a bit over the top but having said that I take a nine iron golf club with me when I walk our dogs. It’s mainly for snakes but luckily I haven’t seen one yet.


  13. Hoo Don says:

    Catherine I couldn’t agree more with your pets on the menu statement.

    Thailand has a more survival ‘slaying’ instinct to its meat eating habits than the western world does but we’re by no means angels ourselves. If we were then there’d be cows and pigs on every street corner, although some folk would say there is already.

    By all means jump on your Bangkok soapbox because if you talk fast enough most of the city’s population won’t understand you. Only the clever one’s and expats will.

    Sorry about the monkey joke. It won’t happen again.

  14. Hoo Don says:

    Talen what’s it like to type a comment with wet feet. I hope your apartment has now dried out.

    I’m surprised you haven’t seen a bucket truck up your way, maybe Pookie has.

    For a lot of people the dogs are for security and also to take out or get taken out by any snakes that are about. That’s mean in my book.

    I hope I’ve never eaten dog before but if I have then there’s a good chance it might have happened here in England. Years back health inspectors found dog meat in one of my hometown’s Indian restaurants. I’d eaten there a few times before.

  15. MeMock says:

    Here is a video I finally got around to uploading of the next stage of the bucket truck. This truck is carrying a few bucket truck loads of dogs through Laos and is only about 50km from the Vietnam border when I saw this particular truck.

  16. Hoo Don says:

    MeMock thanks for the comment and YouTube link, much appreciated. The video makes sad viewing but then again if you are a guest in someone else’s country it’s probably best not to rock the boat.

    I hope things have dried out a bit in Ubon.

  17. Steve says:

    No bucket trucks in western Thailand where Golf comes from. She didn’t even recognize the phrase Maa Laaek Ku (หมาแลกคุ) when I asked her about it. She does agree that the pack of dogs living on her parents place are mostly for protection and to keep snakes and lizards away.

    Golf did say that the Karen people eat cats though, which would explain why I see very few cats when we visit her home I suppose.

    I don’t even want to begin to think about the mass production of animals for meat here in the U.S.

  18. Hoo Don says:

    Steve thanks for asking Golf. Come to think of it I haven’t seen any cats in Wilai’s village, well only once. It was a wild cat and kept raiding mama’s kitchen in the evening. She put down some poison one night and we never saw it again.

    Western meat production…McDonald’s and KFC have a lot to answer for.

  19. Niko says:

    I have never been in Thai village, but here in my country I see the same thing: the bucket truck man, and not just one but many of them passing on the road.

  20. Hoo Don says:

    Niko welcome to the Juice, my statistics show you are from Mexico. It’s a shame your country has the bucket truck as well, do they eat dogs in sombrero land. Thanks for your comment.

  21. Niko says:

    Well, I do not really know but town stories says they eat dogs! That is an atrocity. I love dogs!

  22. Dog Lover says:

    I had a dog that i loved very much in thailand. I visit bangkok every holidays to see my relatives and everytime i visit my dog i always buy him food. I just recently got back from bangkok and i found out that this fucking cunt traded my dog for a 10cent bucket.I got mad and now i wanted to kill that bitch

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