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Sunday, September 16, 2018



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Cut Off girl volunteers time in Thailand working with animals

Cut Off girl volunteers time in Thailand working with animals

This summer, Kara Laird, 21, of Cut Off, spent two weeks in Thailand helping animals and learning hands-on what it’s like to be a veterinarian.

Traveling with the Boston-based Loop Abroad, Kara was part of a small team that volunteered giving care at a dog shelter and then spent a week working directly with rescued elephants at an elephant sanctuary.

The Veterinary Service program brings students to Thailand for two weeks to volunteer alongside a staff veterinarian. For one week, students volunteer at the Animal Rescue Kingdom dog shelter in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

The shelter is home to over 100 dogs that have been rescued after being abandoned, beaten, or abused. While the dogs can be adopted, any that aren’t will be cared for by the shelter for their whole lives.

Kara, a senior at Nicholls State University who is majoring in Pre-Veterinary Medicine, needed an internship to graduate. She learned about the Loop Abroad program and found it was a perfect fit.

“Becoming a veterinarian is what I have always wanted to do, and I believe that this trip will help me to achieve that goal. I want to thank all of the people that helped me to get to Thailand between all the donations and prayers,” said Kara. “It is greatly appreciated.”

While they learned what it’s like to be a veterinarian, students made a difference in the lives of these dogs. By providing check-ups and cleanings, diagnosing and treating ear and eye problems, taking and testing blood, administering vaccines, cleaning and treating wounds, and helping with sterilization surgeries, the students were able to help support the health and well-being of these dogs.

The group also spent a week at the Elephant Nature Park in northern Thailand to work hands-on with the animals and learn about animal rescue and conservation on a larger scale.

The Elephant Nature Park is home to over 40 elephants that have been rescued from trekking, logging, or forced breeding programs. Many of them have been abused and suffer from chronic injuries.

At the Elephant Nature Park, volunteers from all over the world care for elephants. Students were able to feed, bathe, and care for elephants, as well as learn about their diagnoses alongside an elephant vet. The Elephant Nature Park is also home to over 400 dogs and 100 cats, as well as rabbits and water buffalo, and is sustained in huge part by the work of weekly volunteers like Kara.

Loop Abroad has programs for students and young adults age 14 to 30, and offers financial aid and fundraising help to make their trips accessible to the greatest number of students. Interested participants can inquire or apply at www.LoopAbroad.com.

Of her trip, Kara said, “Coming to Thailand was an amazing experience. I met some amazing people and got to know many amazing elephants.”