How a retired couple in Phuket changed the lives of hundreds of street dogs

We got the chance to interview Martin Turner from Soi Dog Foundations about the organization and his role there.

When John and Gill retired to Phuket in 2003, they were horrified by the tens of thousands of sick and injured street dogs and cats, and that nobody was doing anything about it. The number of animals was increasing year on year, and they determined to do something.  For these reasons, they established Soi Dog Foundation, whose Mission Statement is as follows: "To improve the welfare of dogs and cats in Asia, resulting in better lives for both the animal and human communities, to create a society without homeless animals, and to ultimately end animal cruelty”

With another recent retiree and using their own funds they started sterilizing the dogs at temporary clinics in schools and temples, utilizing volunteer vets from overseas. When no volunteers were available they would take animals including any sick or injured street dogs or cats they came across to local vets for treatment. Following the publicity generated by the Asian tsunami in 2004, when the eyes of the world were on the region, the foundation had many volunteer vets and held multiple clinics around the region, as a result of this they received an international grant enabling them to employ their first full time vets and staff and begin the expansion which has led to Soi Dog as it is today.

On being the Marketing Director for Soi Dog organization

We asked Martin what his favorite moment to date working for the organization has been: "Seeing an end to the trade in dogs from Thailand to Vietnam for meat. On a local level seeing street dogs that had no hope restored and now living in homes."

And when asked what he would do if he wasn't the Director of Marketing, it's obvious is an animal lover: "I would be in Africa working on animal conservation projects."

How to support Soi Dog?

You can visit their website at to see the many different ways you can help out; volunteering at the shelter, accompanying an adopted animal to its new home in Europe or North America (as a flight volunteer), sponsoring one of our shelter animals, joining one of our funding clubs, making a general donation. or helping raise awareness in their home country of the plight of street dogs and cats in Asia, as well as the Asian dog meat trade.

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