Bethany and I visited Lanta Animal Welfare, the local animal shelter on Koh Lanta.
We arrived at the shelter on our second full day on the island. Our tuk tuk dropped us on the main road and we walked a few hundred yards to the facility in the midday sun. Outside a few tourists playing with cats on the front porch of the main building. The little ones wandered around causing trouble while the older, lazier cats took siesta in the shade.
While we waited a kitten barely the size of my fist shyly approached us with his head cocked slightly to one side. He sat and cautiously watched us with jaded curiosity until he let out a tiny, high-pitch meow of approval and came closer. It was only then that we saw a healing wound on his back and that one of his eyes was missing. Despite his cautious approach, he playfully rolled onto his back and started pawing at the straps of our backpack that lay on the ground nearby.
The tour of the shelter was interesting, but the stories of how most dogs were rescued and the cruelty they endured were moving. We stopped by one quiet dog named Brave resting in the back of his kennel. After noticing us Brave carefully got up on his three legs and walked over to investigate. He saw that we had brought him a new chew toy and was excited, happily wagging his tail up and down so that he could keep his balance.
After the tour we were asked to take a couple dogs named Toto and Spot out for a walk down to the beach. We spent the whole afternoon at the beach letting the dogs run around and play. They chased after sand crabs that scuttled around and dug countless holes in their pursuit. Toto loved the water and splashed in the waves while Spot, who was deathly afraid, wouldn’t go near them. By the end of the afternoon everyone was exhausted and the dogs followed us back to the shelter with their tongues happily lolling in the hot afternoon air.
It was clear from our time with Spot and Toto that Lanta Animal Welfare is an amazing cause – We’ll definitely return before we leave Koh Lanta.