What are your goals for Care for Dogs?
“Our main priority is on spaying. Sterilizing is the only effective preventative method to reduce the number of unwanted street dogs. We are currently spaying between 400-500 dogs a year, though we hope to increase those numbers even further. We are also striving to see that every dog has a loving and forever home. To date, we have found homes for over 500 animals!
In general, we strive to work with communities so that families adopt stray dogs instead of purchasing purebreds, give them a stable and caring home, pet their dogs instead of hit them, spay/neuter them before reproductive age, and take them to the vet whenever they fall ill. Until that process is achieved, we will continue to work hard with communities, temples, schools, and families, to teach animal compassion, relating, bonding, and understanding.”
What volunteer opportunities exist at Care for Dogs?
“Individuals who wish to volunteer with us have the opportunity to come socialize our dogs by playing, grooming, bathing, or walking them. Many street dogs have never had the constant love and support volunteers can provide them! Our dogs, in turn, are always fond of newcomers who have a passion for helpers. They can sense good intentions and will eagerly jump on the occasion to be paid attention to. People can also help with vet trips and/or temple runs, learn to give injections and treat mange, pick up dogs who need to be spayed or taken to the vet for a physical, do heartworm tests, help with emergency calls, assist with writing articles for the website, aid us in fundraising or other types of administrative work. We also always have loads of opportunities for those wishing to help us with translations!”
What would you like the Thai people to know most about dogs in their country?
“I’d like everyone to realize just how incredibly caring and loving dogs can be. Because of the attachments that they are able to form, they can also be pained by the separation from those they’ve learned to care about. I’d like all humans to be simply more humane when interacting with animals, and understand that street dogs are frightened, hungry, and often hurting and that they would benefit so much from a kind gesture of food or hug. It’s important to remember that, a long time ago, human beings were the ones who brought wolves into their homes in order to protect their territory. We are the ones who transformed wolves into dogs and made them dependent on our care and affection. We therefore have a responsibility to them to hold up our part of the bargain – wolves and dogs have, for many centuries, protected and watched over us. Now it is our turn to protect and watch over them”
What would you like the people of the world to know most about the dogs of Thailand?,
“I would be grateful if people around the world would see and realize that many street dogs in Thailand are being at best ignored, but at worst abused, maltreated and harassed. It’s important to funnel our energy into programs, like Care for Dogs, which help local communities manage the street dog population with kindness, understanding and patience. I would also like the people of the world to realize that vet services in Thailand are a tenth cheaper than they would be in the West so you can imagine what a difference to our efforts even a small contribution can make!”
Is there anything else you would like to mention about the work of Care for Dogs?
“Our first priority is spaying female street, temple, parking lot and community dogs in order to reduce the number of homeless dogs in a humane way. Our current budget allows us to spay between 400-500 dogs per year. After spaying, we keep the dogs for one week at our shelter for after-care before they are returned to their original areas. We wish we could keep all street dogs with us but due to limitations in space, we just can’t! We’re convinced, however, that spaying the ones we do find will inevitably reduce the overpopulation and limit the suffering future generations will have to endure.
Additionally, vaccinations are a very important part of our protocol for homeless dogs. Deworming, heartworm prevention, de-flea and de-tick treatments are also a regular part of our health care program. Once the dogs are healthy and spayed, we actively look for new homes for the dogs at our shelter. For every dog that’s adopted, we can take a new one to our shelter. Last year we found new homes for 202 dogs and cats, and this year, 180 homes were found!
Furthermore, we operate a rescue-service. We regularly take in sick or injured dogs for treatment. On average, we have approx. 20 – 30 dogs staying at the shelter for medical treatment. Last, but not least, we have organized an educational program named “Professor Paws”. We work with local schools to enable school classes to visit our shelter, sensitizing the kids and teachers to the homeless dog situation. Last year, we also started a school project in a temple where we introduced a group of students to basic dog care and organized spayings, vaccinations, and feeding. The students even organized various fundraising events (e.g. movie nights or bake sales) to help raise funds for this project.
We are also currently developing future school-temple projects as well as dog-care workshops for dog owners in surrounding villages. “
As you see Amandine and fellow co-founder Karin Hawelka are as irrepressible as they are inspirational. Perhaps to some people establishing an animal rescue simply feels like the most natural thing on Earth. Brave souls!