As well as training and placing teachers to work abroad, XploreAsia are also passionate about contributing to the local community. Stray dogs are unfortunately extremely common in Thailand which means there are thousands of animals at risk of starvation, abuse and in need of medical treatment. In 2013, XploreAsia and their Australian partners Global Work and Travel decided to do something about it.
From humble beginnings as purely a feeding project, the Rescue Paws foundation now has an on-site veterinarian, Dr Aye, to provide emergency medical care and vital sterilisations as well as a dedicated team of volunteers who help coordinate international adoptions and take care of the street dogs the organisation takes in. The foundation’s main goal is to heal, rehabilitate, sterilize and release strays back to their packs around Hua Hin.
Volunteer Abroad and Make a Difference
“The dogs are often born in dire conditions on the streets.” Says Rescue Paws’ Volunteer Coordinator Jayne Soltys. “Sterilization of these dogs is so important to be able to control the population, and so that the locals feel safe from potentially aggressive dogs. We also make a large effort to teach people how to properly care for their pets by talking to them about sterilization, vaccination, and parasite treatments. By working with XploreAsia, we hope that the teachers will help by making pet care a part of their curriculum”
“As corny as it sounds, every day we witness miracles. To watch a dog go from not being able to walk to running around on the beach, it’s absolutely incredible in a way that I cannot describe.” A prime example of this comes in the adorable form of Rescue Paws’ only permanent resident Sprite. Despite using a wheelchair, Sprite’s boundless energy and charisma wins the hearts of staff and volunteers alike. The foundation is also committed to educating the local community about animal care by reaching out to local schools and organisations.
Rescue Paws relies on a team of volunteers and are always looking for extra hands to help feed, care for and play with the dogs, so there’ll be plenty of opportunities to volunteer abroad with the organisation whilst you’re in Hua Hin earning your TESOL qualification. As Jayne says, “If you only have a couple of hours to spare, we can totally use all the help we can get when it comes to taking our dogs for walks along our beautiful beach.” You’ll also get the chance to visit during the orientation week to meet the team and get a taste of what it’s like to volunteer abroad with animals at the foundation.
Other Ways to Help
Even if for some reason running along the beach with a bunch of dogs isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other things you can do to help the team out whilst studying for your TESOL qualification. All the profits from Wagging Tales, the café at XploreAsia HQ, go directly to Rescue Paws so whenever you stop by to pick up a refreshing watermelon slushy or an energising Thai iced tea between classes, you’re making a real difference to the lives of strays in Hua Hin. In fact, the money from your morning coffee provides one whole meal for a rescued pup. During your training, you’ll likely be eating a lot of freshly made lunches at the café and the fact that you’re making a huge difference to stray animals’ lives makes every bite taste even better.
Everything adds up. Five cups of coffee pays for one vaccination, ten of their delicious smoothies adds up to one bag of dog food and twenty lattes provides one sterilisation to help reduce the number of dogs being born on the streets. Whatever your schedule is, just by hanging out with your new friends at our cosy café makes a huge difference to animals in need.