By Sandra Clyburn, Hand
On Saturday, March 20, the Community Action Service (CAS) participants
of the student-driven Hand to Paw Temple Outreach Programme presented “Down
by the River” featuring Ana Gracey and her band. The Prem students have
worked for months preparing for this event hoping to raise funds to support
the temple dogs in the neighbouring community of Prem Tinsulanonda
International School in Mae Rim. The fund-raiser was held at the historic
Gallery Restaurant on the Ping River. K. Surachai and his staff were perfect
hosts throughout the evening by being well prepared for a sold out crowd.
Ana Gracey and her band performed rock and blues, much to the crowd’s
The Hand to Paw programme was the vision of two staff
members at Prem International School who had a love of dogs and wanted to
develop a programme that would involve the students at the school while at
the same time promoting awareness in the local villages to the plight of the
dogs living in their midst. It was designed to provide care for these
homeless dogs that fought each day to survive because of lack of food,
proper medical care and abuse that included beating and poisoning. Hand to
Paw has since become a group of animal-loving students in grades 6-12 who
work together to promote a sustainable, healthy dog population at the
temples in the surrounding community.
Julia’s proud parents support her efforts in the Hand to
The vision had several goals: to provide a “hands-on”
education -based venue for interested animal-loving students to develop
leadership skills while learning to care for the ongoing needs of the
village temple dogs. To raise community awareness regarding the need to
promote basic health care particularly sterilization and immunization while
at the same time advocating against animal cruelty by modeling a caring
compassionate approach, and finally to work in partnership with the monks at
the local temples as well as the Care for Dogs Foundation. Care for Dogs has
provided support, encouragement and expertise throughout the year.
Ana Gracey joins Prem teachers and Hand to Paw organizers
Sandy Clyburn and Joy Huss before the show.
Presently there are over 30 individuals giving their time
both as co-curricular and CAS (Community Action Service) students to provide
for the daily and ongoing physical needs of the dogs in Wat Nongplamon, Mae
Ann and Huay Sai. Every week the condition of the dogs is assessed. The dogs
have all been named by the students and careful records are kept for each of
them regarding scheduling for vaccinations, heartworm medication and
bathing. As the programme has grown, community awareness sessions have been
held. Female dogs from both the local temples and the village community have
been sterilized and the monks in each of the three temples have been
provided with emergency 24 hour access information through our partner Care
for Dogs in the event of medical emergencies.
It was apparent to the students that to fund such an
operation they would have to do more than the occasional bake sale at
school. The student group provides at least 2 bags of dog food a month to
each of the three temples. They also fund the purchase of medication,
vaccines and bathing/spraying supplies. When money is available female dogs
from the temples are sterilized. The programme has succeeded in having 18
dogs sterilized this year. Hand to Paw has become a worthwhile but costly
venture. After much discussion and brainstorming it was decided to hold a
fund-raiser that included parents and friends.
“Down by the River” became that fund-raiser. With the
help and generosity of so many community-minded individuals, as well as the
students of Hand to Paw, 52,000 baht was raised to support our dogs. They
are not “just dogs” They are our dogs . Every child involved with the
programme loves them, cares for them and hurts when one of them is injured,
sick or abused. We want to prevent this from happening.
Hand to Paw Prem students: Fern, Julia, Tina, A. Joy, Tanuje,
all pitch in to help make the fundraiser a success.
Parents and other supporters of the Hand to Paw
programme enjoy the buffet and show at the Gallery.