Two of Crystal’s most popular members of staff are ‘Happy’ and ‘Biscuit’, twin female dogs that have grown up around the dive centre over the last 3 and half years. These two very friendly young ladies can be seen pottering around the resort making new friends, posing for photos or a ‘USIE’ as well as taking part in their favorite activity of playing with each other on the beach.
For first time visitors and newer members of staff they can be hard to tell apart as they are almost identical to those that have just met them and even more so since I’ve put the same collars on them. But once you have been around a day or so most people can easily tell them apart due to a few distinguishing marks.
The girls were originally part of a litter of 8 puppies, born to a local stray dog on the island. They were delivered to the local animal shelter that took them in and started the search for suitable homes. I picked up Happy and Biscuit, along with another member of staff from the clinic and we have taken care of them since. My colleague had to leave the island so I took both on to make sure they could grow up together.
I still keep in touch of the whereabouts of 5 of the other puppies from that same litter – some have stayed on the island with long time residents and one of their brothers has emigrated and is now living in London of all places!
The Daily Grind
An average day for the girls usually starts the same as most people on the Koh Tao as they head down to the beach! For Biscuit and Happy though it isn’t relax time yet. They go and say good morning to the Divemaster team watching them get the morning dive trips prepared. After this they will make themselves available for the Crystal Images video team in case they are needed for opening shots on the Open water videos for that day.
Once everyone is on the boats they will then head to the office to meet and greet customers as they arrive!
After a hard morning work the girls generally find themselves a nice shady spot to get their heads down for an hour or two, re-energizing for their afternoon’s activities. After a snooze it will be playtime with their local canine friends, running, play fighting and swimming along Mae Haad Beach.
One of their more annoying habits is to dig holes, great fun for them and also for the people hanging around snapping photos on their I phone but not so much for me as I will have to go fill them in afterwards. Grrrrrrr!
During the late afternoon they head back down the beach, to the bar and welcome back the returning divers from our afternoon trip, before enjoying the sunset.
As people who have taken a scuba diving course with me can testify, Happy and Biscuit are very much part of my teaching team. On the first day in the classroom I will introduce them as part of my team during the orientation as they will soon get to know all my students! Whether they are checking on them during their classroom session or even making sure they are conducting skills correctly whilst watching from around the swimming pool they are always around to help.
Sometimes if we head out to the sea to do some exercises they will come out for a swim to make sure everyone is safe and everything is going well. Then while waiting for the boat to be prepared before our open water training dives Happy and Biscuit will sit with the group to try and ease any pre dive jitters followed by escorting the group down to the boat. It has also been known that during rescue courses when people are pretending to be in trouble the girls will bark to alert the rescue students to the ‘distressed’ diver.
Man’s Best Friend
Once I’m finished for the day I will take both dogs home even if it means making 2 trips, back and to forth to Sairee on my bike. Sometimes one of them will run alongside the bike all the way home. Once home they will have a little play with my son, whilst I prepare their dinner, and then it’s usually early to bed, exhausted from their long day at work.
The girls are also known to head off to some of my Crystal colleagues homes for a sleepover and they are smart enough to never go hungry or without a bed to sleep for the night. If you do see them wondering around, a little later at night than usual there is no need to worry. They are probably heading to one of the staffs homes for a feed and a sleep.
Koh Tao Animal Clinic
For medical care and support for animals here on Koh Tao we are very lucky to have our own animal clinic which is run by the fantastic Dr Jae Intaraksa and her assistant Nai. They are supported from volunteers from all over the world who share the same love and concern for animals. The clinic was first opened in 2004. It has support of U.K charities (Noistar foundation) as well as the local community.
The clinic oversees medical care and shelters for stray animals while helping to find homes for them. They are a completely self-funded operation with money raised from events in the U.K and the local community. They have introduced a successful free neutering and rabies vaccination program on stray dogs which has helped to control the amount of animals that are living on the island.
Author: Neil Davidson (PADI MSDT #294100)