18 July 2009

Zen and the Art of Dog Walking, or "Our Time at Lanta Animal Welfare"

This little dude was a new arrival when we got there, and was sick. By the time we left he was healthy and happy.
A lot of backpackers arrive in Asia, see the poverty and dire conditions and want to volunteer. Unfortunately, most long term volunteering opportunities need to be sorted out well in advance and require minimum time commitments and even specialized knowledge/education. Not so with Lanta Animal Welfare.
Lanta Animal Welfare is run by a Californian born Norwegian woman named Junie who runs an extremely successful Thai fusion cooking school and
restaurant on Klong Dao Beach. After many years of living on Lanta she decided to do something to help the myriad stray, sick and injured dogs she saw running up and down the beach. She started a kennel and sterilization program with her own funds.
There is no veterinarian on the Ko Lanta, and so each time she comes across a sick or stray animal she or her volunteers (the amazing Adam and Carolyn) must transport them to Krabi (3 hours away) for treatment - but they do it with a smile! When asked how she manages to run a busy restaurant as well as helping all of these animals she replied with a shrug. “It has to be done!”
S and I just spent two weeks helping out, and in our time there we walked the dogs on the beach, spent time with them in the evenings (to give Junie and her other longterm volunteers a rest) and even helped to socialize Joey, the rescued pet monkey (if by socializing you mean letting him hump my head).
Junie's ambitious plans for the new year include building new spacious kennels allowing her to take on up to 50 dogs at a time, as well as hiring and boarding the island's first vet to look after them.
Junie is doing a great job but she needs help - if you want to help she would love donations and willing hands and even potential adoptees (you can take these animals back to your home country with relative ease – if you are interested be sure to ask!)
So get in there, enjoy the beauty and laid back attitude of Lanta and get your hands dirty. Junie, the dogs, cats and yes – Joey the monkey – would love to see you!

Mai Tai, always reaching through the cage. A sweet old lady.
I wanted to start off with this photo, even if it is a bit fuzzy - this is Mai Tai. She is an old lady, and just HATED it when she had to go back in after walkies. Junie used to have her out all of the time, but once she got 20 dogs it became impossible. Mai Tai is a darling. However, she knows how to get off of her leash and it can be a pain to tear off down the beach after her.....

From left: Belle, Lanta and Joey.
Oh Joey. Joey was in the process of humping Lanta's (the white dog) leg. Unlike Deng, Lanta really did seem to mind. The brown and white dear is Belle, and I think that that S and I want to bring her to Canada. (It is really easy to bring one to Canada!)

Zip was also the name of my childhood dog, so I am biased.
Kissy Kissy with Zip, one of my favourites. I really love this dog. She had a sense of humour, y'know what I mean? I love funny dogs.

Moments later she abruptly stood up, walking away from the confused kittens and sat on my lap to be petted.
The resident mummy cat (Junie rescued her with the kittens- she has since been spayed.) Want a sad story? A Swedish couple were staying here a month ago, fell in love with one of the kittens and went through the whole process of taking it to Phuket to get its shots and papers. At that point, an animal needs to remain in Thailand for 2 more months, get one more vet check and then they can be sent to Canada, no problems. They went home and begin counting down the days - and a few months before the date the kitten was run over by a Sea Gypsy on a fast motorbike. :(
It was named Lanta.

Ahhh! So many kitties! So many cute kitties! (I am kind of like Lenny with bunnies....)
The cat area - about nine of them live near the restaurant (so amazing, btw - the aesthetic alone is worth going for dranks.) I love nothing more than watching the sunset with an icy beer and having a little cat jump into my lap.

Joey, with his hands away from his genitals. A rare photo, ladies and gentlemen.
I wish I could say that Joey was a sweet little guy and we bonded, but it was more "Hey Joey, stop humping my head" or "Hey Joey, please take that wriggling frog you caught from out between your legs" or even "Ewww. Joey, no." He was found on the beach after he was attacked by dogs and Junie footed his vet bills - he has bad manners but I have been told he is a sweetheart. When he is not humping you.....

I started calling him Clint after a while - he reminds me of Clint Eastwood in "Gran Torino"
Red is a grumpy old man, a curmudgeon of a dog with a missing ear. He reminds me of the old man in "Up!" but he does have a good heart - he LOVES Junie (they all do.)

Look at that handsome man! S isn't bad either.....
Sean walking Bubble, the most difficult of all of the dogs. I maintain that Bub would be a great dog with a little personal TLC and a stable forever family, but in the meantime he can tire out even the strongest forearms.

She has a pretty severe medical issue (involving enemas) otherwise I would adopt her. Sweetie.
Sara is sweet lady, missing her tail. She hated going back in - the minute I would turn around on the beach and start heading in she planted her little feet and said "Uh Uh." I had to run and act like a giddy fool to get her moving again.
The Doodler.
Noodle (Noodler, Noodley Doodley, Noody) has a nervous disposition and stays up on these stairs a lot of the time to avoid the other dogs.

Did not matter where I stood, this dog muddied my shins.
Owen, a nice guy with a love of kicking his feet behind him and spraying you with mud, dust, sand, dirt, water - whatever was on hand. It didn't matter what direction you moved to, he could sense it and would re-direct his kicks. I tried to get Sean to take him after a while....

He looks so noble staring at the sea.

Long, Zip's cage mate. Long has a heartworm and the vet has determined that surgery would be really risky, so he is living out his days here at Lanta Animal Welfare. It's really sad, because he is sweet guy, and he and Zip are so happy playing together.

Doggie Deck is a sweet guy.
Doggie aka Doggie Deck aka Deck Dog. Doggie has a wonky eye as a result of a fight, and lives upstairs (hence the deck part of his name.) He was incredibly sweet but also a real pain as he loved to flop down in the grass or sand and refuse to get up. Such cheek!

Oh Pooey, you got the shittiest name.....
Pooey. He was really sweet and slow and I always walked him first, so it was a nice start to the dog walkin' time. A really really nice dog.

I was like "Leg? Are you sure there isn't something wrong with his head?" I kid because I love.
Deng Deng. I assumed that Deng's strange sideways shuffle was due to hip dysplasia, and so did Junie. That was before the vet in Phuket did an x-ray and determined that Deng has been shot and there is a bullet lodged in his leg. That does not keep him from tearing after you at the strangest times and once catching up, grooming your legs or the dog you're walking or the monkey. He's a strange guy.

S's loving display: brought to you by Archa Beer.
Sean showing Lanta some love. She is a genuinely awesome dog - anyone would be lucky to have her as a pet. She doesn't lurve cats, so Sean and I cannot adopt her.... but maybe you can?

Hey you! Bye!


Sam said...

You two are just plain awesome.

Stephanie said...

When we move we're looking at getting more pets. Sad thing is there's just as many animals who need homes here as there are there. Right now our humane society is so full of cats they're on special, something like $30 for everything, because otherwise they're being put down in something like 2 days of coming in. Keep reminding everyone to get every animal they have (and hell, even find and don't keep) spayed and neutered.

blackish said...

Loved this entry! LOVED IT.

Violet Dear said...

Agreed! I have friends with purebreds and I'm like "Noooooo! ADOPT!"

If the shelter in your area does not have the right dog/cat for you, consider Lanta Animal Rescue. It is approx the same cost to fly them to Canada as it is to buy from the shelter.....they have no hope of adoption and the problem worsens each year.

Or maybe just a donation!

Texas Atheist Teen said...

Junie sounds like an absolutely amazing person. I love reading this blog; there's always something interesting to be found.

vancouvergirl05 said...

India and the countries in that area never struck me as places I wanted to go. After looking through some of your pictures, I've found myself very interested. Great blog you have here!

Robyn said...

Lovely story. Am adding Junie and her org to the 'Good Causes' list on our sidebar. Frankly I had no interest in visiting Lanta until I read this.

If you're heading to Malaysia consider Langkawi. Langkawi LASSie (associated with Bon Ton Resort http://bontonresort.com.my), also a no-kill rescue organization, is always looking for volunteers. They'll give you a room (or reduced rate) and meals for helping out with the dogs and cats.

And in northern Thailand there's Lanna Dog Rescue.

Ko said...

Sooo many dogs in this post!! sighhhh.. love the pic of Clint on the beach. And, congratulations for being nominated as a Blog of Note! :)

Violet Dear said...

Robyn - Thanks for the info. We may be heading to Langkawi in a few months. Cheers!

Violet Dear said...

Robyn - Thanks for the info. We may be heading to Langkawi in a few months. Cheers!

Violet Dear said...

Robyn - Thanks for the info. We may be heading to Langkawi in a few months. Cheers!

Roya said...


Got here by accident but just couldn't stop reading. Where is this in Thailand?

susan said so said...

Animal overpopulation/abuse/neglect is rampant throughout the world - I've dedicated my life to helping (I'm Shelter Manager @ an open admissions shelter in the US, and I operate a local chapter of a national rescue organization), and I'm always SO grateful to anyone who is helping fight the good fight.

Thank you both, and Junie, and everyone anywhere who donates - money, time, goods, a home, even just a kind word - to these vulnerable ones.

They can't do it without us.

catfaceandpancakes said...

Wonderful post! I'mm heading out to Koh Lanta in June to volunteer, it's lovely to see your opinions on the dogs, cats, monkey and people!