The Dog Days of Thailand

Alexandra Holtzer, 127 TCCS

“OW! What is going on?!”

I opened my eyes and my land lady was hitting me with a broom! I tried to tell her to stop but a weird sound came out of my mouth instead of words…The I looked around and realized I was outside on my porch. 

“Why am I outside?!”

“Get off the porch dog, I’m trying to sweep!”

“Why are you calling me dog Ya Noi?”

“Go on! Get off!”

Then I realized, I wasn’t in my body…I was in a dogs body.

I live on a compound of houses in Northeast, Thailand and like most compounds there are a few dogs. Thais don’t really let dogs inside their houses and they feed them leftover rice. As an American I normally pet the dogs and give them treats. I have five dogs that live on my compound, and it looked like I was in the body of the dog I call, ‘Puppy’.

“If I’m in Puppy’s body…is Puppy in mine?”

It was October which means fall break for school, and my body was in Myanmar with my friend Elora, but was Puppy in my body…?

As I slipped off the porch, I didn’t really know what to do next. By the temperature and the sun I could tell that it was still morning.

“I guess I could take a walk, since I can’t really figure out what’s going on. I can’t talk to anyone…”

Then all of a sudden I felt something on my butt! The dog I call ‘Bear’ was sniffing my butt!

“This is too weird!”

So I ran down the road towards my school. When I’m in human form, I like to take walks in my village so I know where all the mean dogs are along the road. I thought I could avoid the dogs, but I would have to be extra careful about cars because some Thais don’t slow down for dogs, they assume the dog will get out of the way.

I was walking past my old host families house when I heard their dog ‘NinNin’ call out to me.

“Where are you going?”

“Down to the school, I guess.”

“You seem different…What’s at the school?”

“Not sure, but I’m bored so I’m going to head down there.”

“Alright I guess….well watch out for ‘Yoyo’ and ‘Yaya’, they don’t like dogs going to school when the people aren’t there.”

“Will do, thanks NinNin!”

Then I realized I had a full conversation with a dog…It’s a good thing I watch too many movies. In the movies the person who body swaps always freaks out, but this wasn’t so bad. I just have to see where the universe takes me, follow my gut and everything will be fine.

All of a sudden I heard something. A faint rustling in the rice paddies. Before I knew it, my legs were running to the noise! It was a mouse in the rice and I had an uncontrollable urge to chase it.

“Wait, what am I doing? I’m not really a dog, calm down.”

“You’ll never catch me stupid dog!”

“Don’t you sass me mouse, I’m having a weird day!”

“Whatever slow poke. Catch ya on the flip side!”

I looked down and saw myself in the water of the rice paddie. As a human, unless you’re farming, it’s not common to just walk into a rice field, so this was kind of cool, and it helped me cool down after all that running.

As I approached the school, I saw a little black dog running from the gates.

“Don’t go in there!”

“Why not?”

“Yoyo and Yaya are not in a good mood!”

I could tell the black dog was limping a little. Should I go onto school grounds or not?

I think, “I’m really hungry, maybe Yoyo and Yaya will understand if I explain what happened. I mean they know me as human teacher Allie so maybe I can convince them.”

Walking in I could hear Yoyo laughing while Yaya bit into a chicken bone.

“Hey guys, what’s going on?”

“What do you think you’re doing here?”

“I was wondering if you guys had some extra food. It’s October break so no one is really around.”

“That’s a joke right….Get out of here before we decide to chase you out. You’re welcome for the warning.”

Without hesitation I turned around and started walking out of the school grounds.

“Oh wait! In Thailand, dogs can go to temples and get fed and don’t get hit, that’s perfect!”

In Thailand, most schools have temples next to them that share the same name, because before schools were established, students would go to temple to learn how to read and write.

As I walked through the gates of the temple, a cool breeze whispered through the trees and the bells hanging from the buildings made slight dings, to remind Buddhists to do the right thing. The atmosphere was so different here. As I walked up to a building a monk emerged. I bowed my head as I would do in human form.

“What a polite dog you are!”

Then as the monk reached down to pet me I freaked out, monks aren’t supposed to touch girls! But then it came back to me..

“You’re a dog idiot, I don’t think the same rules apply.”

He was a nice young monk and gave me a pat on the head.

“Go see the old monk by the river, he’ll give you some leftover rice.”

I knew the river was towards the back of the temple, so I headed that way. All the other dogs were laying under cars and sleeping in the shade to help cool off from the heat, but I was hungry so I had to find this monk.

“What took you so long Allie?”

I looked up and saw an old monk sitting on the river bank with his prayer beads.

“Will you help me change back?”

“Yes, but first eat with me.”

Typical Thailand…

I sat with the monk and he asked me about my experience here and what life is like for dogs in America.

“I can’t tell which life is better for dogs. In America, they are taken care of and loved, but in Thailand they have more freedom to run around like their ancestors.”

“I’m not sure, but I hope I don’t have first hand experience again to make the comparison!”

“I’m sure you’d like to get back to your friend Elora.”

“How do you know all this stuff!?”

“Come on Allie, like I’m really going to tell you…”

“You’re right, you’re right.”

So I sat there and waited for my next instruction. Would it be an incantation? An animal sacrifice? Eat some weird smelling plant concoction?

“Just submerge yourself into the river and you’ll be back in Myanmar.”

“That’s it?”

“Yup, easy peasy.”

“Alrighty, thanks for the help.”

“Thank you for being nice to the dogs of Thailand. They will always remember you.”

I walked into the middle of the river waiting to return to my friend a country away.

“This isn’t working! Am I gonna die like this!?”

“Allie! What the hell are you talking about!? Get out of the river!”

I looked up and saw my friend Elora and realized I was treading water with my feet and hands!

“Why did you just jump into that river!? We were having a nice lunch and you just jumped!”

“That’s strange…now I’m all wet. I have to go back to the hostel to change.”

“OK weirdo.”

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