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My neighbor moved and left his dog
Dear Emma,
My neighbor (yes a fellow foreigner) and his family recently moved out of our mooban and it seems they left the dog behind! I saw them leave a few days ago but their dog is still in the yard. Not only is he in the yard but it seems he can’t get out. I’ve been throwing food over the wall but was concerned to actually climb over the wall and free the dog.
However, after two days I called the owner to see what he was going to do with his dog and I was stunned when he said “Nothing, we can’t take the dog with us”. He left that dog to starve to death in the walled in garden!
Needless to say, I then climbed over the wall and took the dog home. However, I cannot keep this dog, as sweet as it is, as I am only living here for a few more months before I return to my home country. My country has a long quarantine otherwise I would consider taking him with me. I am tempted to call the owner and ask for the money to cover quarantine expenses but I am sure he would not pay. Anyone who would abandon his own dog to such a fate certainly would not pay someone else to take care of his dog.
What is wrong with some people? I am still in shock over this.
However, that aside, what can I do with this dog? He is very nice, house broken, good with cats and kids and is used to a family life.
Dog Lover

Dear Dog Lover,
Unfortunately selfishness and cruelty to animals is not limited to locals, in fact there is a reason Humane Societies were established in the West.
Emma knows only of Care For Dogs who may be able to help you find a home for this dog. You can also try posting on Facebook, using Social Media, contact your friends, friends of friends etc. Try going through your friends first, it sounds as though this dog would not do well in a kennel environment so that is the best route. As a last resort, contact Care For Dogs, they take in homeless dogs but are quite stretched for resources so you may want to consider donating while you are at it.
For dog lovers, Care For Dogs is having a fund raiser in November, consider purchasing a ticket to help out.

Friends drink a lot
Dear Emma,
I am not a teetotaler but then neither do I feel like getting drunk three or four nights a week and yet many of my friends do. When I first moved here, I tried joining in the party lifestyle but after a while I realized I was tired of it.
I like a drink every now and then, and I like to have a glass of wine at home and yes, every once in a great while I may go out drinking and partying with my friends I do not choose to get drunk on a regular basis.
Some of my friends, however, do and they pressure me to drink with them which I do not like and do not appreciate. It is getting to the point where I am no longer going out with them but if I don’t go out with them I don’t really have anything else to do. Emma, any suggestions?
Not a drinker

Dear Not a drinker,
It seems to Emma that you have two options; talk to them and make it clear that you don’t appreciate the pressure or find a new set of friends.
If you choose the first option then you need to make certain that they understand you mean what you say and that the pressure is causing problems in your relationship. Then stand by your decision and don’t give in to joining them in drinking when you don’t feel like it. Finally, Emma is not saying give up your friends but find other things to do outside the bar scene. And if you must go to a bar then choose a night when there is a pub quiz for instance, and join in the pub quiz as something other to do than bend your elbow.
As for the second option, if you feel that they are not that good of friends or friends that are not the influence that you want to have in your life then perhaps it is time to find friends with other interests, ones that are closer to your own. There is no need to sit at home alone in a town like Chiang Mai, there is always plenty to do here.
Read the Community Happenings Calendar in this newspaper if you are at a loss. Attend concerts, exhibitions, and charity events. There is a salsa group that meets regularly, listed in our calendar, where you can not only learn how to dance but also meet new people.
Try taking a language class, even if you already speak Thai you can try the advanced class to improve your Thai language skills and once again, meet new people with interests outside the bar.
Another option would be to join some group in Chiang Mai; there is the Expats Club, Rotary, Computer clubs, photography clubs, the Informal Northern Thai Group etc. You could join some of the sports groups; there is a Facebook page for sports in Chiang Mai that lists futsal, badminton, cricket and other sports. You could consider taking up golf, whilst it is not to Emma’s taste you may enjoy yourself and can meet new people at the golf clubs.
There are plenty of ways to meet new people here. It does not even require a great deal of effort to meet new people, just a willingness to get out there and expand one’s horizons.
Emma encourages people to broaden their horizons, it never hurts to meet new people and make new friends or to learn new skills or start a new hobby. Getting stuck in a rut is not only very boring but not particularly healthy.