Koh Tao Animal Clinic
is a veterinarian clinic servicing the community of Koh Tao, Thailand.
They provide care and treatment to sick and injured stray animals and to the loved pet community on the island.
They pride themselves on the care provided to all animals including strays and un-homed animals, turning away no animal in need.
We caught up with Lara Dakers,
Project Pioneer (Social Media and Adoptions)
for a more in-depth discussion about the clinic
and what life is like for stray dogs on Koh Tao Island, Thailand.
fuzzy face: What is the culture around street animals in Thailand and if it is different to Wester
counties, how so?
Lara: Unlike Europe, the USA, UK and Australia the dogs here are arguably more fortunate in that they have a level of freedom that would never be experienced by a dog overseas. The downside is that sometimes no one person is responsible for the animal and on occasions the welfare of the animal can fall between the cracks.
fuzzy face: How many dogs have you adopted out so far and how many do you have in the rescue at any one time?
Lara: Each year on average we adopt out roughly 75 to 100 dogs.
fuzzy face: What is the process of adoption like in Thailand and what is involved when sending dogs to other countries?
Lara: We have sent animals all over the world to their new homes and the process is a relatively easy one whether it be with the use of a flight volunteer or by cargo. We do try our best to match the right animal with adopter, our animal’s welfare is paramount.
fuzzy face: How has Covid affected you and the animals in Thailand?
Lara: With less tourists and travelers coming to the island we have had a reduction in daily trade. Many workers and long-term residents have had to leave and unfortunately not been able to take their pets with them. Some of these animals have been rehomed but many now
remain fending for themselves.
fuzzy face: Do you rely on donations and fundraising only and is this the most difficult part of the
Lara: We rely on donations and fundraising but also have our retail shop where customers can buy food, treats, toys etc. that can help support the clinic. Having the sufficient funds to treat the strays on the island is always an issue.
fuzzy face: Tell me about how people can help. A lot of people want to, but they may not have much money. Are there other things you can do to help?
Lara: From a social media perspective, you can like and share their posts and get the word of their good work out there. The more people that know can increase awareness, adoptions, and donations. People can also volunteer whether it be with their own animal rescue or travel abroad to a rescue they would like to help. Every little bit helps.
fuzzy face: Do you think it is tougher to find homes in Thailand for street animals than it would be in Western country?
Lara: I would say it was the same all over the world. Some people want to
buy pedigrees and other want to adopt the ones that are in need. It all
depends on the individual and their experience and attitude towards
fuzzy face: What percentage of animals need medical attention and rehabilitation? I can’t imagine what you must see daily.
Lara: Every day is different from skin problems to traffic accidents. We try our best to treat every animal whether owned or stray. If it is possible to rehabilitate and find a better situation for our animals, we will try our best.
fuzzy face: Some people would never want to adopt a street dog due to being scared, or some people might never think about it. What are the dogs are like and how can we change this perception?
Lara: There’s no such thing as a bad dog. With time, patience and love any animal can come to be a wonderful pet. Thai dogs in my opinion tend to be far more accepting of situations and able to deal with change better. We send them around the world, and they never blink an eye
about going from sand to snow. They are grateful for your love.
fuzzy face: What is a normal day like at the rescue?
Lara: From 9am its opening up the clinic, cleaning and feeding our resident clinic animals. Then around the island to feed our strays and check on their general health. Walking and socializing of our animals (puppies, dogs etc) that are waiting to be adopted. Throughout the day answering emails and messages and phone calls from owners and potential adopters.
fuzzy face: What are some plans for the rescue for the immediate future?
Lara: Continue our CNVR (capture, neuter, vaccinate, release) program and
try to reduce the number of our dog population. Care for all our animals
and rehome as many as possible.