BoonRod - Book
PLEASE NOTE - CURRENTLY WE ONLY HAVE COPIES IN STOCK OF THE ITALIAN VERSION OF BOONROD
It is not often that a dog writes his autobiography, so let me introduce you to Boonrod, possibly the luckiest dog alive today.
This story has been translated from Woof to Italian (by the wonderful Paola Tonussi) and while none of us can be sure of the accuracy of Boonrod’s back-story, we do know about his journey to hell on earth and his eventual rescue.
We think that Boonrod was a street dog, destined for a vagabond’s life, before being adopted by a family in Thailand. In his book, he describes the friendship between himself and his owner (who he calls Atid) as a friendship coloured by nostalgia and suspended, as if in a fairy-tale, in the lush beauty of the tropical Thai landscape. This happy interlude comes to an abrupt halt when Boonrod is stolen off the streets by illegal Thai dog meat traders.
In an instant his life becomes a horror story as he is bludgeoned senseless and bundled into a small cage with a dozen or so other dogs, hardly able to breath and certainly not able to move. The four day truck journey that ensues (without food or water and under the blazing Asian sun) is akin to Dante’s descent into hell’s Inferno … other than this is for real. Many of the hundreds of dogs (all crushed into similar cages) die on the trip. At night, some are skinned alive and cooked by the truck drivers for dinner. In his book, Boonrod describes how he tries to encourage and support one of the younger dogs in his cage:
"He’s wheezing softly, more and more softly. Don’t be afraid, little one. He looks in my direction for a moment, perhaps he heard me? Straight away he closes his eyes again: he doesn’t want to see what’s going on around him. The harsh light seems to claw at him. Maybe he’s thinking of his mother. Maybe he’s dreaming of rolling in long grass alongside her. I speak to him softly, so as not to alarm him, repeating that he mustn’t be afraid, though I’m afraid too, we all are, here: Be brave, little one. Through the bars I try pushing myself a little bit more in his direction, and manage to just touch him – or it seems so, I hope so. Though the heat is awful, his nose is cold, like a flake of snow. On my touch, his two desolate almond ovals look at me once more: You’ll get back home . . . A tear rolls down from the little almonds. Then I too close my eyes. I’m still hoping to wake from this …"
Eventually they arrive in Chiang Mai where they are delivered to the local butchers. For days the stolen dogs, Boonrod among them, watch on as one by one, their fellow canines are hung, bludgeoned and butchered. Perhaps most insidious of all, in Boonrod’s story, is the nightmarish fiction, fuelled by profit, that the more suffering endured during slaughter, the more tender a dog's meat and the more potent the so-called medicinal properties become.
Then a stroke of luck. One of the butchers posts up photos of his gruesome trade on social media and this is brought to the attention of Soi Dog, Asia’s foremost animal charity. With the aid of a Government internet expert they track down the site (the killing and eating of dogs and cats in Thailand is illegal). With the full cooperation of The Royal Thai Police, the premises is raided and the owner caught red handed, just as he was about to slaughter Boonrod (who was curled up shivering in a small cage, totally helpless, with his legs bound together).
In time, and after much rehabilitation at the Soi Dog shelter, Boonrod was adopted by Paola Tonussi, an Italian author living in Verona, Italy. And it was to Paola that Boonrod first suggested writing about his experiences …
If you would like to read the full story, and I strongly recommend that you do, “Boonrod” the book can be purchased from the Soi Dog merchandise website. The author is listed as Paola Tonussi; but we know otherwise, don’t we Boonrod! It is an extremely moving story that triggers all the emotions: humour, frustration, fear, anger (extreme anger), hope, despair and most important of all, love.
About the authors:
Boonrod is a Dog Meat Trade survivor who now lives in Verona. His name translates from Thai as “the one who got away”.
Paola Tonussi is a scholar of European and American literature of the 19th and 20th centuries. She lives with Boonrod in Verona and is the author of numerous books.