Learn three easy ways to improve life for dogs in Thailand (or cats*). Whether you can use some room in your suitcase to bring old toys, can offer your spare Thai change or a rainy afternoon – it’s easy to bring your inner Crazy Dog/Cat Lady to Thailand and leave with the fuzzy satisfaction you’ve done some good.
*I’ll write dog throughout this post (I don’t understand cat-affinity) – but insert your household mammal of choice.
How to help dogs in Thailand
1. Packable dog love
As we explain in The Koh Samui Guide, dogs in Thailand are a common sight – often seen trotting here and there on ‘Official Dog Business’. Not to get all Sarah McLachlan commercial* on you, but many of them could do with some help. Turns out, you can do it while you pack.
Perhaps the easiest way to help dogs in Thailand is to bring a few things with you – tucking spare pet supplies into an unused corner of your suitcase. Despite suggesting what to pack for Thailand – I realised recently that there’s an obvious extra packing list for animal lovers headed to Thailand.
Get to know your closest dog and cat rescue – the following are tireless resources and extremely deserving of any time/money/pet supplies you can offer. To call these wonderful charities bootstrapped is an understatement:
- Chiang Mai: Elephant Nature Park Dog Project (ENP Dogs) + their donation wish-list
- Koh Phangan: Phangan Animal Care for Strays (PACS) + their donation wish-list
- Koh Samui: Dog and Cat Rescue Samui (DCRS) + their donation wish-list
- Phuket: Soi Dog Foundation + their donation wish-list
To give you a quick idea of what’s needed, the following is a compilation Thai animal shelter wish-list. If you have a duplicate or can pick up an item on your next trip to the pet shop, consider bringing some puppy presents to Thailand.
Perhaps you have a dog whose toy box overfloweth. Maybe you have a drawer of old collars and leashes. Or, maybe you don’t have any pets at all – but your linen cupboard would be happy to part with its oldest sheets and towels. Just by packing, it’s easy to come to Thailand and leave its animals better off when you depart. Mushy maybe, but a cause close to many of our hearts (#RescueDogOwnerHighFive).
Phone a friend: If you have room in your suitcase – ask your fellow dog- or cat-owning friends or neighbours if they have anything you could bring along for donation. Note that some shelters differ in their requirements (e.g. some want collars and some don’t) – check the list specific to your destination.
2. Help out with your spare change
Every animal organisation welcomes a one-off donation, a monthly sponsorship of an animal or even your spare Thai baht change. On Koh Samui, you’ll see small donation boxes for DCRS at many island hotels – an easy way to lighten your wallet of Thai baht coins before you leave.
- Chiang Mai: Elephant Nature Park Dog Project (ENP Dogs) donations
- Koh Phangan: Phangan Animal Care for Strays (PACS) donations
- Koh Samui: Dog and Cat Rescue Samui (DCRS) donations
- Phuket: Soi Dog Foundation donations
3. Help out with your time
Amongst the rainy day activity suggestions we offer in The Koh Samui Guide, readers tell us that volunteering at Dog and Cat Rescue Samui is amongst their favourite.
Dog and Cat Rescue Samui says: no experience needed, anyone is welcome for any length of time. We say: wear old clothes, bring water and mosquito repellent!
To give you an idea of how you can be helpful (with any length of visit)…
- Chiang Mai: Elephant Nature Park Dog Project (ENP Dogs) volunteering
- Koh Phangan: Phangan Animal Care for Strays (PACS) volunteering + Instagram
- Koh Samui: Dog and Cat Rescue Samui (DCRS) volunteering
- Phuket: Soi Dog Foundation volunteering + Instagram
From Phangan Animal Care for Strays (PACS): PACS always needs help from a wide range of people, not just medical professionals. We need help with everything from fundraising to dog-walking, from socializing animals to scrubbing the kennels. There is also always plenty to be done to continue improving the facilities too.
In Koh Phangan, it doesn’t take long for paint to flake off, the jungle to take over the garden and the plumbing to fail. Whatever your skills and experience can be put to good use at PACS, the most important thing is to have a passion for animal care.
If you are happy to get your hands dirty or even just come and give some love to the animals, you will be welcome at PACS and know that you have made a difference to the lives of our patients. If you would like to learn more about PACS and how you can help the island’s strays, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, we look forward to hearing from you!
*Sarah McLachlan commercial (don’t actually watch it – you’ll cry for days)