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'She had this fighter spirit': Dog finds forever home in Huntington Beach after being rescued in Thailand by 2 friends

Priscella Vega, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Cats & Dogs News

A street dog from Thailand has found her fur-ever home in Huntington Beach, Calif.

Dr. Lisa Chong and Tara Austin spotted the year-old Thai Bangkaew dog dragging its body on its two front legs across a busy street while they were in that country last December to volunteer at Elephant Nature Park near Chiang Mai.

The tale began to unfold after dinner one night during their stay. During the meal, Austin shared with Chong her admiration for Frida Kahlo, an artist who remained dedicated to her art despite becoming bedridden after a bus accident.

On their way back to their hotel following dinner, the two childhood friends spotted the dog. Without consulting each other, they both walked onto the street to stop traffic and to shepherd the dog to safety. While Chong used dog treats to gauge the dog's friendliness toward humans, Austin flagged down a cab to take them back to their hotel.

Austin also asked people at nearby businesses if they knew the dog, but no one claimed her. Austin and Chong, who gave the dog the name Frida after the famed Mexican artist, believe she might have been dropped off at a nearby temple where other stray dogs congregate.

"She had this fighter spirit," Austin said, referring to Frida's attitude on the drive back to their hotel. The dog, she said, calmly sat in the car and looked out the window.


Chong, an OB-GYN, said they didn't realize the extent of Frida's poor condition until they took her back to their hotel room. Ticks covered the dog's body and her paws were covered in dirt as a result of dragging her body, she said.

An X-ray at a 24-hour hospital just outside Chiang Mai later revealed Frida had a lumbar fracture and is missing several bones in her paws. She didn't have any fur on her paws at the time.

"She was really infected," Chong said. "You could just feel the heat coming out of her legs, that's why she was panting. She didn't even know how to drink water. She had been a street dog for so long she only understood how to drink water off the pavement. She didn't understand the concept of a cup of water."

Chong said hospital staff recommended amputating Frida's hind legs, but Chong wanted that option to be the last resort. She said they had hoped Frida would one day walk again.


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