I’ve lived in Thailand for 13 years and can normally find my way around and get things done easily enough. I speak enough Thai to get by, and Thais speak enough English to help me. That’s why when I took my rabbit to get it neutered, I did not expect it to be as difficult as it was. In fact, by the time I’d finished, I was about to kill somebody.
I called the vet to make an appointment to get my male rabbit neutered in Bangkok. Unfortunately, it was Songkran (the Thai New Year holiday), so he couldn’t neuter my rabbit until a couple of days after the holiday was over. This meant I had to play Musical Cages all week, putting the male rabbit in the cage while the female rabbit came out to play and vice versa. They already had two babies, and I couldn’t take a chance there might be more.
But the day of neutering arrived and I dutifully set off in a taxi for the vet’s, clutching a small cage with my rabbit securely fastened inside.
The first few minutes were a bit hairy as Boo, my rabbit, had never been in a taxi before. He bounced around the cage a few times then stood there shaking, but a few minutes later he was calmer although still looking freaked out. If he was this freaked out now, I dreaded to think what he’d be like once he was neutered. But, if this was the extent of the problems I would have – no problem. Of course though, it wasn’t.
The taxi driver pulled up at the end of the soi (the Thai name for ‘small lane’) where the vet was located and told me he couldn’t drive down it as it was a one-way soi. So, I got out, picked up the cage and headed off down the soi in search of the vet’s.
The vet however had not told me that he was almost at the end of the soi and, fifteen minutes later, my arms were killing me as I finally arrived at the address (rabbits are heavy you know!).
Imagine my surprise when I walked into the driveway to the building to find out it was a private residence with no vet in sight. The nice Thai man who came to the door after his maid called him to check out the weird farang (Westerner) standing outside, told me the vet had moved two years before. It would have been nice if his website had had the new address on it!
The man knew approximately where the vet had moved to, though, but not the actual address, but he pointed me off in the general direction.
Now, in Bangkok, it’s impossible to find anything if you don’t have the address so I hiked to the end of the soi, still carrying the heavy rabbit and cage, and this time took a taxi to the sky train. My cell phone had stopped working on me that morning, so I couldn’t call the vet. But I knew there were public phones at the sky train so, lugging the now-what-felt-like 200 pound rabbit with me, I made for the phones and started to dial.
I never use Thai public telephones and all the instructions are in Thai, but it’s got to be pretty simple right? Wrong.
After five minutes of trying every combination of numbers I could think of and nothing working, I needed help.
Luckily, the sky train station I was at was the one I used to go to for my evening job and I know the women who work at the coffee stall there. A quick “Toorasap, chuay duay” (‘Please help me with the telephone’, in Thai) and I figured I was set.
That would have been a safe assumption, but my Thai helper couldn’t get the phone to work either. So we headed back to the coffee stall, where I bought an iced coffee, because by this time in the 95 degree Bangkok heat I was pouring sweat, and I borrowed the other woman’s cell phone to call the vet.
The vet, who thankfully speaks excellent English, gave me the new address and the rabbit and I went to get our third taxi of the morning. I gave the taxi driver the address, he looked a bit strange, and then off we went.
Imagine my surprise, when he did a u-turn and took me back to the same street as I’d just got in at but about 150 yards further down, and on the opposite side. Sure, the taxi only cost $1, but I could have walked faster in the time it took him to u-turn. The vet must think all Westerners are lazy if he thought I needed a taxi for a 150 yard walk!
Anyway, long story short, my rabbit was dropped off in a very professional veterinary clinic and I picked him up six hours later, looking a bit dazed and minus two important body parts. He’s now lounging around the apartment still looking a bit stupefied, but it beats the constant humping that was going on before.
Moral of the story? If you want to get your rabbit neutered in Thailand, make sure you know where the veterinary clinic is first. Seriously.