Making a difference for our four legged friends
When arriving in beautiful Krabi visitors to this amazing province are amazed at the beauty of the lush green topography, warm humid temperatures and the mountainous karsts bursting forth towards the heavens. They are perplexed by the crystal clear waters teaming with tropical fish and a plethora of sea life and vegetation. When trekking through the jungles they get to witness elephants, monitor lizards, monkeys and tropical birds. This paradise is almost too good to be true; but it is actually the truth. However, although surrounded by such natural beauty the traveler will scratch their heads in wonder at seeing something that in their homelands is almost never witnessed; stray cats and dogs .
More and more travelers to Thailand are saddened and even vocal about dogs and cats that run the streets and beaches looking for shelter, food and protection. In their homelands most dogs and cats are domesticated and they rarely see animals without owners. Thailand may appear to be different but there’s always a back story to things seen as there are things unseen. Although it may appear that dogs and cats are wondering without any love or concern by the people surrounding them this is far from reality.
Over the last two decades animal welfare has been on the rise in Thailand. More and more animal shelters are being built and services developed to educate about the care and welfare of our beloved furry friends. One such animal care provider that is near and dear to the hearts of those in the Krabi province is the Lanta Animal Welfare; located on the island of Lanta. They have developed an educational platform by going into local schools almost every week to teach about how to care for animals and introduce spay and neutering. This helps to educate and stop the increase of animals being born without the possibility of being housed. They learn about rabies, animal-people interaction and animal behavior. Primarily to decrease the fear of dogs. With the help of a Community Outreach Coordinator pamphlets are then distributed to introduce an upcoming spay and neutering clinic. Partnering education and sterilization programs the decrease of stay animals is immanent.
The Thai Community Outreach Coordinator surveys areas and accesses the needs of communities that have an abundance of strays. The area Orbitor and even mosques will make announcements for local villagers to bring their pets for sterilization. They also have volunteer animal catchers that will go out and bring the animals in, catching these strays in phases. First they will catch the friendly dogs, then the timid or fearful. They locate feeding areas and use catch cages in a safe and harmless way to catch the animals in order to care for them. Depending on the condition of the animal it will then be spayed or neutered. If the animal is injured or sick they will treat wounds and infection. All animals sterilized are fortunate to be given treatment for mange, tick, fleas and given rabies vaccine.
A recent a foreign volunteer group made their way to Ao Nang and to date have performed 2 animal clinics. hey are excited that they are gaining momentum in the reduction of strays by returning to places they previously conducted a clinic. To see the willingness of people to bring more personal pets and strays to the sterilization program. Too, they are seeing an ever increasing reduction of strays in the smaller villages; this is a big win!
They are integrated with the Government Livestock Department of Thailand. Working hand in hand by having staff members on sight to log in and register the animals being serviced. Also, working with Thai Veterinarians who will come in and volunteer on a private basis. These great volunteers cannot meet the needs of these animals without the support of the local government and financial support. The local Orbator provides a building to use, electricity, lighting systems, tables and a spacious area fully covered to use as the clinical area. Thanks to the financial support given by Welttierschutzgesellschaft.e.V (WTG). This German animal welfare charity shares an international focus. Their vision is a world in which animals are treated with respect and understanding. The WTG does not receive any government funding or support. It is only due to the kind and generous help of donors and supporters that they are able to help suffering animals around the globe. This incredible sponsor has helped to grant the growth of Lanta Animal Welfare and clinics that are going on around the surrounding areas.
Most of the Veterinarians that come in to provide the care are volunteers and volunteers with a lot of heart. When they perform the clinics the teams are on their feet working with the heat, the climate, hundreds of cats and dogs. Working tirelessly in extreme and diverse conditions. In the watching it’s unimaginable the strength of heart and body these teams put forth to care for and treat the animals. The team’s work for 12-14 hours per day non-stop.
Many people come and see the stray animals and out of passion want to start their own animal rescue foundation. In theory this is well driven but in all practicality not so much. In spending time with these team leaders they emphasized that clinics are great because you can come in and service an immense amount of animals which will stop their being an overpopulation of strays. If a person would want to come and create an actual rescue center, the center would be at capacity in no time at all. To maintain a high standard of care and welfare for these animals would take unimaginable amount time and financial resources. Quote, “It’s not like taking care of your pet; times 50”. These animals come with very individualized needs. Too, once you’ve reached capacity animals would have to be turned away. If not, then you begin to hoard and then put the animals at risk. The greatest advice they give is “collaboration”. Work alongside others that already have established animal care facilities. Participate and learn about all that’s already going on around you. Then you would see the undertaking and if indeed this is your calling. Love for animals is great but there’s a need for greater commitment behind the passion.
It is not just the foreign visitor that sees the great need towards animal intervention. You will often see Thai nationals that feed these strays every day. They show compassion and kindness to tens and twenties of both cats and dogs. Too, there are networks of Thai nationals who fund-raise to draw financial support to care for our canine and feline darlings. Krabi is a very religious area with Buddhist and Muslims living together in community. Both religions have their personal beliefs surrounding dogs and cats. Even though at times there may be obstacles the main objective is always towards the wellness of the animals and educating the communities in which they serve in. Remember just as Rome was not built in a day, so shall with animal rescue and welfare projects. However, with passionate volunteers, caring Thai nationals and people giving to the cause, change is surely on the horizon.
Spending time with this incredible volunteer team allowed me to see that they are absolutely driven by a passion to help rescue and secure the future of the dogs and cats in Krabi, Thailand. They stay in their personal and professional lane by bringing in clinics where they see the need. Working with Thai nationals that equally desire to see the welfare of these animals addressed and filling the gaps that are currently around them. Their goal is to see these animals sterilized so that there is not an increase in the stray population, seeing injured animals rehabilitated and domesticated. Ultimately that cats and dogs would have a place to call home and these homes would have more happiness through loving fur babies. My hat goes off to this incredible group of people who are working diligently to bring hope and a future to the dogs and cats of amazing Thailand.
Interested in learning more or volunteering? Check out Lanta Animal Welfare website now.