For the love of cats and dogs

After a 26 hour journey, three flights, two ferries and a manic 2 hour minibus ride with a mad Thai driver, on the 28th March 2012 I landed at Lanta Animal Welfare (LAW) on Koh Lanta, South Thailand.

I stood outside the center in the dark, frogs baying, geckos tweeting, and I thought, ‘Two years ago I read about volunteer work at LAW. It’s been on my mind for two years… and now I’m here. I’ve arrived’. It felt totally surreal.

I had left my job on Friday, and said goodbye to Auska, Bug, close friends and family on Saturday and Sunday. I flew from Manchester on Monday and found myself standing in the staffroom/kitchen/feed-room/night-shift bedroom by Wednesday.

Although it was night time, it was still incredibly hot. The night was humid and crawling with insects – BIG insects. The smell was an acquired taste too, let me explain…

The centre is a big barn style building with a pitched corrugated roof. Encircling the whole barn are 4 big outdoor runs. The kennels run along the two outside edges with an aisle down the middle.

Connected to the building at the one end is the ‘hub’. It houses the open plan kitchen (human and animal), dining area, food stores, fridges and freezers and laundry (also human and animal). This is a really great idea for the dogs staying at LAW, as there’s lots going on with people coming and going, so it’s much like a home environment.

Through a door off the kitchen is the veterinary surgery – the theatre, consult rooms and recovery, finally the cat house perched on the end. All of the above was mixed together in close proximity and blazing heat…. I was buzzing from the adrenaline of the journey and blinking like a rabbit in the headlights. But still, the smell!