This article originally appeared on VICE Asia
A dog was found swimming in the middle of the Gulf of Thailand last week. Nobody seems to know where it came from, or whose dog it is, or how it ended up 220 kilometres out to sea. But it was found, and rescued, and returned to dry land on Monday with a yellow floral wreath around its neck and a brand new name. “Boonrod”, its saviours called it—Thai for “survivor.”
Vitisak Payalaw, a member of Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production’s offshore drilling team, was among the workers who first noticed Boonrod swimming toward their oil rig on Friday afternoon. “We could clearly see its head and water rippling as he was swimming toward our oil platform,” Vitisak told the Bangkok Post over the weekend. “If the waves had been strong, we wouldn't have seen him.”
When the dog reached the pole at the base of the drilling platform, the crew quickly set about trying to find a way to rescue it. The operation was a “race against time”, according to Vitisak, with wind-generated waves threatening to wash the animal away at any moment. Eventually the crew decided to tie a rope around its neck and pull it up out of the water, lifting the dog onto the dry safety of the rig.
“At last, we did it,” Vitisak recalled. “The dog was pulled from the sea safely. He looked exhausted. Now, we are taking care of him and will later bring him ashore.”
Boonrod was promptly treated to a bath and given mineral supplements to restore his health. On Monday morning, a vessel took him ashore in Songkhla, southern Thailand, where he was greeted by a team of veterinarians and workers from the charity organisation Watchdog Thailand. He has since been taken to an animal clinic for further care.
“His overall condition has improved,” said Vitisak on Monday. “He is getting stronger and can smile.”
If nobody claims ownership of Boonrod, Vitisak has plans to adopt him and take him back to his own home in Khon Kaen. Speculating on how the dog wound up in the middle of the ocean, hundreds of kilometres from shore, he suggested that the previous owners could be to blame.
“The dog might have fallen from a fishing trawler or jumped into the sea,” he said, “possibly to escape abuse on the vessel.’’
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