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Chiefy, you are forever in my heart

Run free and cross the rainbow bridge, my sweet Chiefy baby!

Our beloved Chiefy passed away today, the 27th of December 2023, at RBG1 in Ratchaburi, Thailand. I got the news from Rinse on the drive home this afternoon from our cottage in Härnösand. Rinse is also still in Manila and had to relay instructions to the boys left behind at home in Ratchaburi.

Chiefy was buried at past midnight by Junjun, Janjan and Neil under a spot between an atis and a guava tree there in Ratchaburi, organized by Rinse and with the help of ma’am Janssen. A photo of his final resting place will be added later (most likely after Rinse is back and pays a visit to the place).

I will start the long story by saying that Chiefy lived with me from the day I took him home in April 2016 (Bangbon, Bangkok) until I left for Manila in March 2017. I went back to Bangkok to see him once more before I left for Austria in May 2017. I flew back from Vienna to Bangkok in September 2017 hoping to take Chiefy with me to Austria this time, but he got denied at the last step – AQS (airport animal quarantine station)…

From then on until his passing, he had been living with my always helpful and kind-hearted friends Rinse Galupo and Guilbert Fincalero and their family and staff (past and present) at RBG1 & RBG2 in Ratchaburi, Thailand (Filipinos who have been teaching and doing business in Thailand for almost two decades now). How I met them is another story for later.

Six years of Chiefy’s life, 2017-2023, he spent with them. They housed him, fed him, bathed him, took him to the vet when needed, they cared for him all those years… And then sadly, they had to bury him today.

I am truly truly truly grateful and thankful to Rinse, Guilbert and everyone who became part of Chiefy’s life after I left Thailand. Thank you so very much, guys!

Thank you!

Thank you!

Thank you!

I can’t say that enough. I had wished for every day of those six years of Chiefy’s life that he had spent them with me instead, but it was not to be. Tears come easily when I think of it and my beautiful, jolly, devoted Chiefy. I had missed him so much through the years, and there was guilt for like not striving harder to go back and try to get him again. Life had not been that simple. So much has happened…

There were times I thought about adopting a dog here in Sweden, I just couldn’t bring myself to while Chiefy lived. It felt like a betrayal.

Now that he’s gone, I take comfort in the idea that he can be with me in spirit, literally. I would like that very much.

I will think of him when I go for walks and people walking their dogs would certainly remind me of our own walks together years ago. I will think of him while I sit and write on my desk, like now. I glance at the floor beside me as if he’s there waiting for me, like he used to follow me around back at our home in Bangbon. The memories of us sleeping together after he scared off all the cats…

Here is a photo taken after the negative decision at the AQS in Suvarnabhumi.

I know he did not looked 100%, but I desperately prayed for a miracle. Sadly, it was not to be.


Meeting the Chief

I thought he was the most poorly looking stray dog I had ever seen.

The first time I saw him was under the bridge on Phetkasem 69 in Bangkok, right by the little pier with the same name. This was in April 2016. I do not remember the exact date. I was still working for Mashare in Bangbon back then.

This mange-ridden but jolly-looking doggy ran alongside passengers getting off the ferry that just arrived. I thought, what a very friendly dog! Nobody paid him any attention though. It was like they could sense that he was not dangerous and just walked on and past him up the bridge and away. My ex-husband Ronald and I got on the boat on our way to another part of Bangkok and watched the dog watch us leave.

Coming back from our trip, I saw him again approach to greet us as we disembarked from the boat. The sight of him never left my mind.

At home, I brought up the topic and how he could have ended up under a bridge. Many thoughts, questions. He must be so hungry. Who gives him food? I can’t recall exactly when but I believe it was the next day that I went back to give him food and spray him with something I bought to help with the mange all over his skin.

Then I decided that the next time I was going there, it was to bring him home. I received protests over that announcement of course because we already have seven cats (minus Dancer, our 8th cat we lost in Bangyai) at home at that time.

We were on a bus the following day or so, and as we approached the bridge, I said to Ronald that I was getting off and taking the dog home. “How are you taking him home, it’s far to walk?” That was just one of a number of concerns. I was focused on the goal, no thought at all on the means to it because I had never done this before. I’m sure there was a little voice in my head also asking if I was sure about what I was about to do.

Our traveling cats came into our lives like simply heaven-sent. Mama Lucky came to our home while pregnant with her first two babies. We did not have to collect her from the street where she lived.

I bought a leash and stuff – a good suggestion from R since I didn’t even think of details. All I had in mind was doggy is coming home with me today. I will take care of him if no one will.

I got off the bus, R had no choice but to follow after me while mumbling. He took this photo of me and Chiefy.

Hello doggy, you’re coming home with me…


Photos of him when we met…

beloved dog, Chiefy, dog, hund, rescued dog, thai dog

Vivien Nyström

Born in 1979 in her hometown of Kiangan, Ifugao in the Philippines, Vi has moved homes too many times. Since 2020 before Austria's first lockdown during the pandemic, she moved to Sweden. She is still in Sweden today.

The Traveling Cats

The Traveling Cats