‘Until no more unwanted dogs and cats’: Soi Dog founder dedicates British MBE to late wife

Soi Dog Foundation co-founder John Dalley and a rescued dog. Photo: Soi Dog Foundation / Courtesy
Soi Dog Foundation co-founder John Dalley and a rescued dog. Photo: Soi Dog Foundation / Courtesy

After 17 years campaigning for better lives for Thailand’s animals, Soi Dog Foundation cofounder John Dalley said today he won’t rest after being inducted into the British order of chivalry for his contributions.

Two days after Dalley joined medical workers, celebrities and other to receive the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, or MBE, the 71-year-old animal advocate struck a humble tone, dedicating the award to his late wife and the foundation’s staff and volunteers.

“I am just sorry that Gill could not be here to share,” Dalley said of Gill Dalley, who died in 2017 after battling cancer. “To be honest, I see this more as a recognition for what Soi Dog has achieved, and that is down to the thousands of supporters, volunteers and staff who have made it what it is today.”

Dalley said he still has more work to do.

“I will continue to do the work until there are no more unwanted dogs and cats,” he said.

He was among 1,495 to receive this year’s annual award honoring Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday. Fourteen percent of those on this year’s list were health and social care workers.

John and his late wife Gill Dalley, with whom he began Soi Dog Foundation. Photo: Soi Dog Foundation / Courtesy
John and his late wife Gill Dalley, with whom he began Soi Dog Foundation. Photo: Soi Dog Foundation / Courtesy

Originally from Leeds in Northern England, Dalley moved permanently to Phuket in 2003 with his wife, where they founded Soi Dog Foundation to address the stray dog and cat problem on the island.

The largest foundation working with stray dogs and cats in Asia, the foundation focuses on treating, vaccinating and sterilizing animals to control their populations. He expects that by December, it will have sterilized and vaccinate 500,000 animals since it all began.

The award comes at a challenging time for the foundation, which has been hard hit by the pandemic. According to Dalley, lockdown measures and lost tourism has led to his Phuket shelter becoming overcrowded with up to 1,300 abandoned dogs and cats.

People can help by donating money or supplies, or adopting a stray. More information can be found at Soi Dog Foundation online.

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