It’s easy to say you love animals, but actually getting out there and doing something for all those fuzzy dogs and cats? That’s something else entirely.
Here in Bangkok one sees countless reminders of their plight walking around every day on four (sometimes fewer) legs, many suffering from some combination of disease, malnourishment and maltreatment. Too often people don’t want to handle the responsibility of a pet and just dump them on the doorsteps of temples or animal welfare groups (if they’re lucky) or just on the street (if they’re not). Fortunately there are brave souls with big hearts enough working tirelessly to do something for them. Here are three groups out there helping the strays of Thailand and inspiring the rest of us to do the same.
PAWS celebrikitty ‘Num’ visits Harrow International School earlier this year. Photo: PAWS
Longtime animal champion Amy Ann Baron founded PAWS Bangkok about two years ago after the demise of Soi Cats and Dogs. Baron’s companion animal welfare program is dedicated to humanely reducing the number of animals on the street and in shelters in Thailand through free or cheap spaying and neutering. it currently shelters 120 animals, a third of which need medical care. PAWS also seeks to educate students and communities in responsible pet ownership and animal welfare, along with promoting best practices among local veterinarians. PAWS has sterilized more than 2,000 animals and found homes for hundreds, including about 100 from Wat Suan Kaew.
While focused mostly on sterilization of cats and dogs, PAWS also has a limited, cats-only shelter in Bangkok. PAWS does rescue a small number of cats, though this is generally done through other animal rescuers. PAWS has been working with the Soi Dog Foundation to improve Wat Suan Kaew’s cat situation by finding them homes. Apart from two staff members, everyone – including Baron – volunteers their time. PAWS limps along on donations, and when those fall short, Baron’s own expense.
The group seeks volunteers who can work independently in fund-raising. They’re also looking for people who can help with photography, videography, translation and social networking to help build awareness for the animals in their care. Most of all, PAWS needs help paying for its shelters, two staffers, food, kitty litter, medication, veterinary bills and medical supplies. Donations of medium-quality or better dry cat food and clumping cat sand are also welcome.
“But, Doctor, I only came in with a hairball in my throat!” PAWS volunteer vet “Dr. Pie” Photo: PAWS
“All this for ME?” Photo: PAWS
Warning: Stare into a puppy’s eyes for too long and it will enslave your soul forever. Photo: Pic-A-Pet4Home
Tharinee Wipuchanin started rescuing stray dogs and cats and searching for homes for them over a decade ago. Along with a few friends, she established Pic-A-Pet4Home, a small nonprofit organization dedicated to finding homes for strays and sterilizing them. Tharinee herself uses her house as a shelter for about 70 dogs and 30 cats, paying out of her own pocket to support her work. She handles everything with the help of some staff members from her office next door. The organization has a sponsor in the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration for its free neutering services. Tharinee regularly heads up to the BMA’s upcountry shelter, where she takes photographs of some of the strays and posts them in the Bangkok Post’s Brunch supplement, Facebook and Instagram.
What the group needs most is more awareness to help it connect its dogs and cats with loving human companions. It’s difficult caring for so many animals, and not many people come to adopt them. Tharinee is looking for funding to start a mobile sterilization program to take to local temples and communities. in order to reduce the stray population. Pic-A-Pet4Home hopes that interested individuals would help fund such a mobile unit. The group also seeks to raise funds due to their limited budget, with fundraising campaigns being conducted on Facebook and elsewhere. Tharinee herself hopes that there will one day be an animal hospital that offers free treatment for strays.
“Are you close enough to pet me? Not so much ‘depth perception’ here.” Photo: Pic-A-Pet4Home
“Don’t you need a matching set?” Photo: Pic-A-Pet4Home
“I’m just a tube! A happy tube of puppy!” Photo: Soi Dog Foundation
Soi Dog Foundation’s goal is to help dogs and cats in Thailand that are some mix of homeless, neglected or abused. Since being founded 11 years ago in Phuket, it’s taken on the region’s dog meat trade and responded to animal welfare issues. Soi Dog hopes to set an example in Asia for how to humanely manage stray dog and cat populations through spaying and neutering, as well as bettering their lives and living conditions.
Among their various campaigns: Sterilization of more than 76,000 dogs and cats in Phuket, with plans to expand it to Bangkok next year. The foundation maintains a shelter for more than 400 animals in Phuket and has helped construct large dog shelters in Buriram for dogs rescued from the meat trade. Regionally, it has sought to bolster awareness and law enforcement to rein in the theft, smuggling and butchery of dogs between Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.
Want to help? People can donate cash, volunteer, organize fund raisers or adopt an animal. Those unable to adopt can also sponsor one of the dogs or cats in their care.
“Yellow? Are you serious?” Photo: Soi Dog Foundation
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