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[Video] The Homeless Saigon Man Who Built a Home for Rescue Dogs

In recent years, uproar over the consumption of dog meat has culminated in demands for a national ban on the controversial dish, which some consider a traditional delicacy while others claim it is unethical.

Many dog lovers have organized advocacy groups to work towards abolishing dogs as a food source, hoping their collective efforts will raise public awareness about some of the practice’s darker elements. Among them is a man who, at first glance, seems somewhat lonely in his endeavor, roaming the streets of Saigon on a motorized cart with his beloved dogs and a sign that reads: “Not for sale. Dogs are friends, not food.” 

Frequent District 4 and 5 often enough and one will eventually notice an old man of small stature driving around town collecting trash. It’s what he carries on at the back of his self-constructed vehicle that makes him stand out: dogs, young and old, peeking comfortably through their iron container’s blue bars at the curious world. It is easy to mistake the man for a dog seller, until you see his heartfelt note. These dogs are not only his friends, but also his family.

Võ Văn Thành sets out onto the streets every day to deliver his message to as many people as possible, dedicating his life to rescuing dogs from thieves, slaughterhouses and abandonment. While living alone and without a home for years, he has found a home in the presence of his dogs and met others who share his hopes and struggles.

The video below gives a glimpse into a typical day in the lives of Thành and his furry friends. In the morning, they embark on a routine journey across the city. And as dusk falls and neon lights start shining in all directions, blurring the lines of objects, their lives melt into one another’s.

Listen to Thành's life story through the video feature below:

Filmed by Anh Nguyen and Alberto Prieto.
Interview done by Anh Nguyen.
Edited by Anh To and G. Huy Nguyen.
Music by Tiny Giant.

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