During the past month five people have unfortunately lost their lives in the sea off Koh Chang. Red flags are flying, warning signs have been put up and numerous Facebook posts from armchair activists have demanded that someone do something to try to prevent any more tourists losing their lives in the seas off Koh Chang. Unfortunately, doing nothing and letting Darwin’s Theory take care of the idiots who ignore red flags and warning signs isn’t a ‘Like’ worthy option when it comes to faking concern online in Fb.
This is my contribution. It occurred to me that whilst there is a shortage of human volunteers who are willing to give up their free time in order to drag people out of the sea, there are a multitude of beach dogs just sitting around doing nothing who could be trained up to perform this function in return for a free meal. Other countries have dogs trained up to work alongside rescue teams,so how hard could it be to replicate that on Koh Chang? I first needed to know whether this idea was feasible or just a pie in the sky. As time was of the essence, I wasn’t able to allocate a couple of years of my life to rearing a pup and training them professionally. So Plan B was to hit the ground running, skip the theory and put my theory to the test that you can get a dog to do pretty much anything in return for a few slices of cheese and a back massage. ( Me too for that matter.)
Having rounded up a dog, an old boogie board and a couple non-swimming Thais, to role play the part of non-swimming Thais, it was time for the first open water training session. Fortunately there were a few waves and so I sent the non-swimmers off with the boogie board and instructions not to go too far out of their depth as although I was hopeful Koh Chang’s surf rescue dog would know what to do, I couldn’t guarantee it. And off they went, the promise of a free beer if they made it back alive being all the motivation required.
As you can see the results were pretty promising and the board survived and made it back to the beach intact. He may need a bit more training regarding priorities but not a bad first try.