I’ve recently been emailing back and forth with the two main animal organizations I plan to volunteer with while I am abroad. I thought I’d share a little bit about these awesome organizations and what they are doing.

BAWA is a not-for-profit based in Ubud, Bali where I have spent much time in the past and plan on using as a home base during our upcoming travels. BAWA’s mission is to relieve suffering and overpopulation by providing medical care, spay and neutering, street-feeding and adoption, and by educating children and adults in animal welfare. Presently the organization supports a fully staffed clinic near Ubud, a 24-hour animal ambulance, a mobile sterilization clinic, an education program, a puppy adoption program, and an increasing amount of community programs. Currently Bali is experiencing a large outbreak of rabies and BAWA is working hard to control and eradicate the virus. So far in 2010 they have vaccinated and collared 68,000 dogs.

I am very excited to be able to use my skills and experience to help out this particular organization, especially during the rabies emergency. The island has an estimated 600,000 dogs, with the majority of them as strays, malnourished and in poor health. Puppies, especially females, are frequently dumped in the gutter to die, while many mutts live with serious, untreated injuries from devastating road accidents. I can’t even describe to you the types of injuries I’ve seen while there. These dogs have been impossible to ignore on my past trips and I am happy that I now get to help make their lives a bit better. Kim, whom I have been emailing with, wrote to me “We always need willing helpers at our clinic – socialization of the puppies and adult dogs is so very important in their rehabilitation. Every dog at the BAWA clinic has experienced some form of trauma, so a friendly face, a gentle voice and a loving touch are all incredibly valuable in helping them to heal and become well adjusted so that they can either return to their home territory or be adopted to a loving family.”

The organization relies primarily on individual donors, so if you would like to read more or donate please click here! BAWA can always use toys for dogs at the clinic and puppies waiting adoption. I plan to bring some with me, but if anyone has old/used toys that have gone ignored by your canine I’d be happy to take them off your hands and bring them with me!

SCAD Bangkok is another organization I plan to work with in Thailand. It aims to improve the lives and reduce the number of stray dogs and cats through adoption, sterilization, and education programs. Bangkok has an estimated 300,000 stray dogs who suffer from cruelty, abuse, and neglect. Some of the problems they face are worse than in any other city I know of, which makes me really want to lend a hand. For example, it is culturally acceptable for pets to be pushed out on the streets or dumped at temples when they become sick, pregnant or injured, or simply lose their cute puppy appeal. Dogs are also being killed in alarmingly growing numbers for the dog meat industry, their skins used as leather for luxury goods in overseas markets. It is incredibly sad and frustrating how many areas in the world lack any kind of humane animal education, but this is one of a growing number of organizations that is working to change this.

I don’t plan to spend much time in Bangkok, but this organization is definitely on my to-do list! They will be moving to a new location in January/February 2011, which is most likely when Dav and I plan to travel through, so I’m sure they will have lots of work for me to do.

SCAD Bangkok is also not-for-profit and they rely on donations. Please donate here!