When you’re working on an oil rig in the middle of the ocean, you expect to see the occasional whale or dolphin swimming by, but a stray dog? Yet, that’s precisely what the crew on a Chevron rig spotted struggling in the waters of the Gulf of Thailand - 135 miles from land.
The fuzzy brown pup, first spotted by Vitisak Payalaw from the oil rig, was clearly in distress. “I thought that if we didn’t move quickly, I would not be able to help him,” Payalaw told CNN.
As the rescue efforts continued, the water was becoming increasingly choppy. Several attempts to reel in the dog failed and the crew feared he’d be swept back out to sea. “His eyes were so sad,” Payalaw said. “He just kept looking up just like he wanted to say, ‘please help me.’”
Finally, the workers were able to secure the dog with a rope harness and pull him to safety. By then, he was understandably shaking and exhausted. After cleaning him up and giving him fresh water and food, the crew named him Boonrod, which means “he has done good karma and that helps him to survive,” Payalaw told NPR.
Boonrod was identified as an aspin, a breed native to the Philippines. No one knows exactly how he came to be in the waters so far offshore, although the Bangkok Post speculated he’d most likely fallen from a fishing trawler.
On 15 April, after two days’ recuperation, Boonrod was sent by boat to the mainland where he received veterinary care before being transferred to an animal shelter. Payalaw posted to his Facebook page: “His overall condition has improved. He is getting stronger and can smile.’’
But the plucky pup’s good luck didn’t stop there. Payalaw had become so attached to Boonrod, he vowed that if no one claimed ownership, he’d adopt the dog himself. Since no owner came forward, Boonrod was made an official member of Payalaw’s family on the spot - much to their mutual delight. “I’m very very, happy with my new dog,” Payalaw said. “He’s a good dog for me and a good dog for my family, too.” Payalaw says while he’s not married, Boorod has become “like a son” to him.
There’s a saying that goes, “Dogs have a way of finding the people that need them.” Boonrod may have had more obstacles to overcome than most canines when it came to finding that special person to call his own, but he proved that even an ocean wasn’t enough to keep him and his beloved Payalaw apart.