Street Dogs in Thailand
One of the most noticeable and widespread phenomenons in Thailand is the staggering amount of stray dogs. In any small town or big city you’re passing through, you will find dogs roaming the streets and alleyways. In most western countries, there are dog shelters that take in stray and homeless animals that are later adopted or euthanized due to health issues, behavior or age. In Thailand, there are no official organizations that take in unwanted animals, and euthanizing is highly frowned upon by the Buddhist culture. Because certain animal practices do not exist, the stray dog population in this country is constantly multiplying.
A major contributing factor to the growing stray population is the lack of education surrounding animal care. In many countries it seems like common knowledge to have your pet spayed or neutered to prevent any unwanted litters, but that is not the case in Thailand. The absence of this spay/neuter mentality is detrimental with such a huge stray population. Throughout the country, there are an estimated 8.5 million dogs. According to the Bangkok Post, around 700,000 of these dogs are strays, and 340,000 of these strays are female. Assuming that they are not spayed, one female dog can have about 10 puppies a year, meaning street dog population has the potential to grow by as many as 3.4 million dogs every year. This unfathomable statistic is where our non-profit organization Rescue Paws comes in.
Rescue Paws – Making a Difference
Rescue Paws is a non-profit organization for Thai street dogs. Founded in 2013, in partnership with The Global Work & Travel Company, the organization aims to stabilize and then reduce the stray animal population in Thailand over time through vaccinations, sterilization, adoptions, and education. Rescue Paws is based in Hua Hin, Thailand, a beach town a few hours south of Bangkok. In a 68 km radius around Hua Hin there is an estimated 100,000 stray dogs, with that number ever increasing.
In just over two years, Rescue Paws has made a dramatic impact on the stray dog population around Hua Hin. Since opening their doors, they have given over 550 vaccinations to prevent future sickness, provided over 260 sterilizations to prevent future street dogs, and over 1550 parasite and 72 disease treatments that have saved lives of many street dogs.
Rescue Paws has fed over 1500 different dogs – currently feeding an average of 750 a week, and have given 14 rescued dogs new homes. Recently, Rescue Paws took in a small paraplegic pup named Half-Pipe. Through many donations they were able to get him a set of wheels so he can walk, run and play with the other dogs on the beach. This past July, volunteers at Rescue Paws began an online fundraiser to get Half-Pipe to a shelter in Canada that specifically cares for paraplegic dogs. In just a month, the GoFundMe page raised over $1500 to cover the costs of Half-Pipes relocation to his more suitable home in Canada. The success stories like Half-Pipe’s really shed light on the importance and incredible heart of this organization.
If you’d like to donate please click here.
Volunteer Abroad with Rescue Paws
Volunteers are an integral part of Rescue Paws’ day to day operation. Volunteers can come from all around the world to assist the organization in whatever way they can. From cleaning kennels and walking dogs, to raising online awareness and helping with administrative tasks, to assisting in animal wound care, Rescue Paws welcomes volunteers with any level of experience. Whether you are an experienced vet assistant or a first time dog walking volunteer, any help is needed and appreciated! Volunteers usually stay anywhere from 1-3 months.
An average day as a volunteer abroad begins with cleaning the on-site crates and kennels where the dogs are kept. They may be recovering from surgery or sickness to be sent back out to the streets, or waiting for a new home. After everything is clean and the dogs are fed and watered, volunteers will usually take some dogs out for walks on the beach. Rescue Paws is located on old temple grounds just steps from the ocean. Taking the dogs to the beach to run and play in the water is not only great exercise for them but an incredible break from life in the kennel. Feeding runs also occur as often as possible, with volunteers packing up and heading out around the Hua Hin area to feed anywhere from 5-10 dog packs per day. Street dogs are also given vaccinations and wound care when possible. If there is room at the Rescue Paws grounds, they will try and take in sickly dogs to be monitored and treated. Volunteers get to work closely with the dogs, help with upkeep of the clinic and grounds, assist in spreading awareness through marketing, and work on whatever projects need to be completed next. Every day is different at Rescue Paws. If you or anyone you know would like to volunteer abroad, please click here.
Adopting from Rescue Paws
If you are interested in adopting a lovable Thai dog and having them join your family, or you know someone who would be interested, it’s not as hard as it sounds to adopt from around the world. Rescue Paws has been working diligently, seeking the cheapest and easiest ways to place stray dogs in their forever-homes. The easiest countries to adopt a Thai dog outside of Thailand are the United States and Canada. Neither of these countries have a quarantine period for the dogs so it takes less time and is a less stressful process for the dogs. When you adopt one of Rescue Paws’ dogs, they will come healthy and fully vaccinated. Included in the price of adoption is:
– All necessary vaccinations and blood testing
– Health certificates
– Travel documentation
The cost of adopting a Thai dog varies greatly depending on which country the dog is going to, which airline the dog is flying on, and how much the dog weighs. When adding in all these factors, the cost could be anywhere from $200 USD to $700 USD with a flight volunteer. Not only does the cost of sending the dog vary between countries and airlines, but it also depends greatly on if the dog has a travel companion or not. What this means is that the dog won’t be flying alone, but with a person flying with the dog as checked baggage. If an adopted dog has a companion this reduces the price nearly by half, and adds no additional cost to the flight volunteer taking the dog with them.
Rescue Paws faces a daily, continuous challenge in working to accomplish its goals. They are tasked with treating and feeding a seemingly endless amount of dogs suffering from malnutrition, sickness, and abuse. If you or someone you know are interested in learning more about Rescue Paws, volunteering, donating or adopting a dog, please visit http://rescuepawsasia.org. Your support is invaluable, you can help us by spreading the word of Rescue Paws by liking and sharing posts from the Rescue Paws Facebook page.
Stay tuned for new videos, interviews with volunteers, and much more.
Thank you Amanda!