While the famous saying states that dogs are man’s best friends, Lithuanian couple Mantas and Rasa have turned it around. The couple has become the best friends of all the stray dogs living on Koh Kood island since they moved to Thailand six years ago. They fell in love not only with the island and relaxed locals, but with its canines as well, and have since adopted 15 strays. Mantas and Rasa are not only taking care of their adoptive pets, but also drive 40 km every day to feed strays, give them medicine, and do daily check-ups since there are no vets or animal rescues on the island. Scroll down for their story.

More info: Sabai Dog Koh Kood

A Lithuanian couple, Mantas and Rasa, came to Koh Kood island in Thailand 6 years ago as tourists

Image credits: SabaiDogKohKood

While you could easily think this is a story about people creating a shelter or an animal rescue, this is not. However, it might be even more wholesome. Mantas and his wife Rasa left their home country Lithuania six years ago to travel around Thailand. Little did they know then that they’d fall in love with the Thai island Koh Kood so much, they would decide to move there permanently.

They quickly fell in love with the island and felt it was just what they were looking for

Image credits: SabaiDogKohKood

At the beginning of their trip, they had to say their goodbyes via phone to their beloved boxer who stayed back in Lithuania

Image credits: SabaiDogKohKood

While they were still traveling, the couple lost their beloved ten-year-old boxer named Aibo, who was then back in Lithuania. “He became very sick and it was impossible to save him. It was a very hard time for us, we couldn’t be with him, all we could do was to say we love him on the phone. We were so broken,” they said. After the loss, they made the decision to stay in Koh Kood and adopt a local pup. While they had noticed dogs running around the island before, they were only able to fully comprehend how many stray dogs there are after permanently moving to Koh Kood. The couple also noticed that many of them were sick or injured.

He became very sick and passed away, leaving the couple devastated

Image credits: SabaiDogKohKood

However, when they started living there, the couple started noticing how many dogs there are on the island

Image credits: SabaiDogKohKood

The first dog they adopted in Koh Kood is Zuika, which is Lithuanian for “baby rabbit.” They also made a short trip back to Lithuania and brought their other dog, Rudis, to Thailand with them, since they knew they were there to stay. “At the moment, there are 15 adopted stray dogs living with us: 2 blind doggies, 4 with disabilities. All of them have their own stories—saved from death as a puppy, blind, paralyzed.”

Many of them were sick or injured, but the island has no animal shelter or a vet that could treat them

Image credits: SabaiDogKohKood

They made a decision and adopted their first pup named Zuika, which means “baby rabbit”

Image credits: SabaiDogKohKood

Taking care of such a big family is definitely not only sunshine and rainbows. “The landlord of our house, which we rented for many years, refused to extend our rent. We literally became homeless with our big family, as our former landlord was far from animal-friendly. But we now have a new place in a remote area of the island and are happy to be with our 15 doggos.”

Knowing they wanted to stay in Thailand, the couple made a short trip back to Europe and took their other dog named Rudis with them

Image credits: SabaiDogKohKood

The couple has adopted 15 stray pups since they started living in Thailand

Image credits: SabaiDogKohKood

The couple didn’t stop there and started looking out for other dogs on the island too. “We want to help Koh Kood dogs. For this purpose, my wife and I created Sabai Dog Koh Kood [their Facebook page]. The word ‘sabai’ in the Thai language means ‘happy.’ We want Koh Kood dogs to be happy and healthy,” Mantas writes on said Facebook page.

Two of their doggos are blind and four have other disabilities

Image credits: SabaiDogKohKood

Since there are no vets or pet sanctuaries on the island and many of their pups have health issues, they are constantly consulting vets from their home country Lithuania

Image credits: SabaiDogKohKood

They started to give their leftover food to stray dogs. It then developed to them buying huge bags of dog food and later led to buying basic first aid supplies such as bandages, saline, and betadine. Despite the island having a huge and ever-growing dog population, there is not a single vet there. “We are no vets by far, but as time passed, we didn’t even notice how we learned to deal with serious wounds and got more and more medical knowledge about different diseases,” the couple says.

Vets from abroad donate not only their knowledge, but also dog food and medicine

Image credits: SabaiDogKohKood

The couple is trying to help the dogs they haven’t adopted as much as possible too

Image credits: SabaiDogKohKood

The couple explains that most dogs have a terrible skin disease called canine mange, which can be demodex or sarcoptic. They also explain that there are a lot of motorbike and car accidents that leave many dogs injured. A lot of dogs have abscesses on their legs, necks, and/or heads and are prone to infections due to malnutrition, since the only food they can get is rice. They are trying their best to help, but have limited funds. You can find more info on how to support them here or at the end of this post. The couple also says that dogs with collars have a better chance to survive and asks tourists to give away second-hand collars if they have any.

They usually drive more than 40 km a day feeding stray dogs, giving medication, and doing daily check-ups on them

Image credits: SabaiDogKohKood

Back in 2015, they also began a project aimed at controlling Koh Kood island’s dog population

Image credits: SabaiDogKohKood

Mantas and Rasa devote all of their free time to Koh Kood dogs. They drive 40 km every day to feed stray dogs, give them medicine, and do daily check-ups. After all this time, there are still no vets on the island, which makes the pair the closest thing the island has. “For serious cases like dogs losing limbs in the traps, deep open wounds, or unknown cases, we take dogs to the mainland by a boat and then drive 100 km to a vet clinic or even 700 km to a vet hospital. We do not have funds for such emergency cases so we use our own money and ask people for help to donate.”

Mantas and Rasa reached out to all possible vet schools, clinics, and organizations asking for help

Image credits: SabaiDogKohKood

Khon Kaen University answered their call and together, they organized the first spay/neuter project on the island

Image credits: SabaiDogKohKood

They not only try to help as many dogs as they can themselves, but also try to see the bigger picture and take care of Koh Kood’s entire dog population. They reached out to all possible vet schools, clinics, and organizations back in 2015, asking for help controlling the island’s dog population. Together with Khon Kaen University, they organized the first dog spay/neuter project and took care of over 70 dogs. They later continued the project with different organizations and have currently spayed/neutered over 1000 dogs on the island.

During the project, they have managed to get approximately 1000 dogs spayed/neutered

Image credits: SabaiDogKohKood

However, since there’s still no permanent vet on the island, people frequently bring them their injured or sick pets

Image credits: SabaiDogKohKood

If you want to help them in their mission, you can donate via PayPal (foto@mantaspra.com) or make a bank transfer. You can find their details in this Facebook post. “Everyone is welcomed to visit our small dog heaven in Koh Kood. Just ask any local for Sabai Dog or ‘Mantas’ and they will tell you how to find us. At the moment we are looking for a new place to live on the island.”

You can help the doggos of Koh Kood too by donating to Mantas and Rasa, who are doing their best to take care of all the dogs living on the island!

Image credits: SabaiDogKohKood