To learn about other souls is to deepen the connection with your own. Volunteering in Thailand has taught me to respect and care for animals and people I have no previous relationship. You meet people with a similar mindset but who are entirely different from what you are accustomed to and what you expected. You show these living beings kindness, and they reciprocate. All of the volunteers are here for the animals and to embark on a new adventure, just like you! Everyone is so happy and grateful to be here, and this is what inspired me to do things I was once afraid of doing.
When you create happiness in your life, it becomes infectious. It is not an affliction, but rather a strong bond that motivates the passionate to keep doing better. By being a part of Rescue P.A.W.S, I have become a person that always tries to see the positive side, no matter the circumstance.
Coming to Thailand was never at the top of my travel bucket list, but once I did my research and saw the beauty of this country’s culture, I was sold. With my interest in Buddhism, I sought for something beyond the beliefs I was familiar with. Buddhism is a lifestyle, as well as a religion. The Thai people are unlike anything I have ever experienced in my lifetime. With a simple “wai,” respect is given, received, and appreciated. I have been called, “beautiful,” more times here on the street in a loving and adoring way than I have back home, and the kindness is just alluring.
Seeking a change in my drab daily life, I longed for adventure, something to inspire me to do something completely different from what I was used to. And when I thought of Thailand, I thought about a warm climate, fantastic food, and something completely out of my comfort zone. But that’s exactly what I needed- I had to get out of my comfort zone which was going to work every day, coming home, going to sleep, and doing the same thing all over again the next day. I needed a big change!
Meeting other like-minded people showed me that our similarities would create a bond that gave me more inspiration to achieve higher than I initially did. We were here to find something greater than ourselves, but what we individually found would be completely different and completely up to us. I was searching for an answer to my ill-guided prayers, which was my problem in the first place. I was trying too hard. By letting go and allowing myself to live in the present, I became aware of my surroundings and that the answer to my prayers was within myself all along. I didn’t have to search for a specific solution to my problems, but instead, I had to allow myself to just exist within the natural world as a human being.
I always had an interest in animals. Ever since I was a young girl living in New York; I had a dog, as well as pet hamsters. Once my dad even hatched duck eggs, which we raised until they were old enough to live on their own. The connections that I developed with these animals were all loving and emotional, as they were considered a part of my family.
This is ideology is something apparent in the Western world, where people see animals as pets and as a part of the family. Animal cruelty is strongly looked down upon, and we have many organizations against the abuse and mistreatment of animals. But it was only in 2014 in Thailand that there was an animal welfare law passed by King Bhumibol, with the aim of stopping animals facing danger or being in harm’s way. I always believed that animals, like humans, should be treated with respect, as they are living beings who struggle with a vast array of emotions, like fear and sadness. As I work more with these beings, I realize the unconditional love they emit is vibrant. The work I am currently doing with the street dogs of Hua Hin shows me that we are not alone in our emotions because feelings are universal. If there are times when I’m feeling uneasy or anxious about being away from home, I can always count on one of the clinic or temple animals to cheer me up.
A warm welcome by our temple dogs awaits us every day at Rescue P.A.W.S. George always runs towards the truck with a huge smile on his face, and Sprite is always eager to get out and explore in his wheelchair. Felicity runs up to you with a cheeky look on her face as if she will jump on you to welcome you to another day of work, but just turns around and bolts to the other volunteers. Just as their love is contagious, so is their silly, playful nature. These animals will make you feel like a child again, as you chase them around without any caution or worry. We can never actually run away from our problems, but chasing around playful pups is one sure way to help you relieve your past worries.
By getting out of my comfort zone, I found a way to better myself. I realized that every day is special and creating experiences with those I get to spend my time with here is the happiest place I can be. Living in the moment is that place where I want to be because worrying about the future and past is a waste of your time. When you worry, you forget to live your life. So, I would encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and do something that challenges you. If you want to volunteer with animals in Thailand, check out Rescue P.A.W.S for a life-changing experience or contact them today to find out more!
This feature was kindly wrote by Jen Sinski. Jen joined us on a marketing internship from Greenheart Travel who offers placements with us. Jen is from New York, with an interest in marketing, animals, and video making.