October 6, 2014

dog days at the Elephant Nature Park

when i visited in 2010 there were dogs everywhere.  on the platform, in the fields, on the skywalk.  they came from all over and just stayed.  i think there were about 30 at the time.  now there are over 400.  elephants are a little bit wary of dogs in general and can stress them out a bit so the dogs have been given their own space at the sanctuary.

the catalyst for a formal dog rescue project began as a result of the catastropic floods in Bangkok in 2011.  in rented boats navigating the river of streets Elephant Nature Park volunteers rescued dogs trapped on rooftops and desperate for help. of the 2,000 dogs pulled to safety, 155 were brought to Elephant Nature Park to begin their second chance at life.  large 'dog runs' were built with all kinks of things for the dogs to climb on, swim in and play around.  a small animal hospital was constructed and a full time vet and clinic manager have been employed to care for ENP's new family.

there is lots of downtime for the elephant volunteers.  the chores are usually done between 8AM-10AM in the morning and another hour in the afternoon.  one day it rains and they let us go after unloading a banana truck.  most all of the volunteers head over to the dogs to help give them walks or socialize as needed.  this can be dangerous because these dogs are adorable and they have made it very easy for US, UK, Australian and Canadian citizens to adopt these dogs.  it's not at all expensive and it's quite fast.  four dogs are adopted out by volunteers in our group.

some of the dogs still roam freely around the elephants, skywalk and platform - the legacy dogs that were never placed in the kennels. the staff and volunteers who are on the dog project work really hard.  it'll be after we've had dinner and they are still running about to find the free roamers and deliver meds or treats.   the ones who don't enjoy a tummy rub from strangers wear a red ribbon around their neck.

this is mary, from LA, with Kalup the dog she is adopting

 did i mention there's a cat kingdom as well???? 
that's what they call it and so there are quite a few cats that roam around when they see you coming they roll right over on their backs for a tummy rub.  they stay pretty clear of the elephants and one day i see an elephant [i think it was Faa Sai] chase one of the cats under the platform.

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