Lanta Animal Welfare was founded by Junie Kovacs in 2005. Her mission was to end the suffering of the hundreds of homeless, abused and injured animals on Koh Lanta. To date, L.A.W has sterilised and treated over 15,000 animals, and not a day goes by that they don't take on more cases and rescue more lives.
We travel from Thailand to the UK and Europe with quite a lot of animals from L.A.W and their dogs and cats are always a pleasure to be around. The adopters we get to meet are just as passionate as those working at the Shelter, and recently we were lucky enough to quiz Diane, Shelter Manager at L.A.W, after a hard days work!
If you could be one of your dogs for a month, which dog would you be?
That's easy, I would be Clifford for a month. Clifford came to us 8 months ago in a terrible state, he had no fur due to a horrendous skin condition and sadly had TVT, a canine form of cancer. Clifford is now hairy and healthy and enjoys the company of his kennel companion Gloria. Come 4pm he gets to go to the beach and watches the sunset with two of the team who have finished their shift.
The best part about being Clifford this month is getting to go home, he is due to fly with Action for Dogs to the UK and finally have a family of his own.
What rescue memory is a highlight that cheers you up on the hard days?
Buster, he was a rescue dog at the centre back in 2017 after being found on a mobile clinic. He had a significant injury to his paw and had to have one of his front legs amputated.
Buster would always put on a show whenever anyone gave him any attention. He would zoom around his area running faster and having more fun than any of the others he lived with. He was the goofiest dog ever and always made me smile, I still have his profile as a book mark. It was an emotional day when Buster left us but he now lives his best life in Germany.
What's your biggest challenge right now?
Our biggest challenge has come as a result of Covid-19. Thailand closed it's borders back in March and as yet we don't know when international travel will be permitted.
We do not get any government funding and rely solely on donations. The bulk of our donations come from tourists visiting, without tourists we don't receive the funds we so desperately need to enable our work to continue.
What should people know if they are considering before adopting from abroad?
Adopting from abroad is an amazing way to give street animals a second chance. However, one of the biggest things to consider is time. Living on the streets is very hard, they have had to adapt to survive and fight for every meal. Even centre life can be difficult for them to adjust to as they are not used to human kindness, living with other animals and the routines we have.
Rescue animals need time to adjust to their new home, many will have taken a long journey and be extremely tired and confused. They don't understand their new surroundings, even the carpet or a TV can be scary to them. Adopters need to be patient and understand that rescue animals need time more than anything else.
What is a common misconception people have about what you do?
Many people visiting Lanta Animal Welfare don't realise that our work extends beyond Koh Lanta. We are the only animal hospital on Koh Lanta serving the animals and community on the island. However we have an outreach team, consisting of vets, nurses and animal catchers who regularly go to the mainland or neighbouring islands to run mobile clinics.
The purpose of these mobile clinics is to control the animal population, our team can sterilise several hundred cats and dogs during each mobile clinic. We will also bring any sick or injured animals back to our hospital for much needed medical treatment.
What would you most want others to know about the plight of stray pets and pet rescue/adoption that they may not already know?
Thailand is an amazing country but sadly cats and dogs are not always treated well. Life as a street animal can be extremely tough, we see animals at Lanta Animal Welfare who have malnutrition, painful skin diseases, cancer and sadly we do see cases of abuse.
We believe the only way to end animal suffering is through education and that is why we run regular educational visits to schools and local communities.
How can readers help you with your mission?
The best way to help is to set up a regular monthly donation. Knowing that we have a regular source of funding helps us to budget and plan for the month ahead as there are always animals in need of our help.