Earth Day is a celebration of all life and a special day to inspire awareness of this planet that we all share. It is a holiday that is dear to the hearts of two dog rescue organizations in Chiang Mai, Thailand: Hand to Paw Temple Outreach and the Care for Dogs Foundation (http://carefordogs.org).
Hand to Paw Temple Outreach is a group of animal-loving, service oriented students from the Prem Tinsulanonda International School working together to promote a sustainable, healthy dog population at six temples in their surrounding community. The Care for Dogs Foundation is a non-profit organization and the community’s leading rescue shelter working diligently 365 days a year to sterilize, vaccinate, treat and care for Chiang Mai’s injured, neglected and ill street and temple dogs. Combining their resources, staff and students joined together to bring their services to the small rural community of Baan Mae Ann. The event was held at the village temple, one of the six temples in the Hand to Paw program, to provide education and awareness to local residents about the many issues facing pet owners in Thailand.
Villagers showed up all morning in a steady stream with their pets in the back of pick-up trucks, sitting on motorcycles or led on foot to take advantage of Dr New’s free veterinary service and healthcare advice, free rabies vaccines and heartworm protection and discounted vaccines. The highlight of the day’s event was the ‘doggie bathing station’ manned by the Hand to Paw students who were up to their elbows in doggie shampoo, lathering, de-ticking and grooming a multitude of dogs and puppies in all shapes and sizes.
Education materials and discussion were also presented relaying the importance of adopting from a shelter, the worth of pet sterilization and vaccination, and the dangers of anti-pregnancy injections. Petitions were on-hand to be signed to bring legislation against the dog meat trade in Thailand.
“The day was beyond my expectations. The village elder, villagers and monks truly appreciated what we were doing to help their dogs and community. They especially liked the demonstrations of basic health care skills which they could now take home with them, truly making a difference in the lives of their pets,” says Joy Huss, founder of Hand to Paw Temple Outreach.