It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Okay, not quite, but the holiday season is fast approaching, and it’ll be here before you know it.

There’s an old saying that this festive time of the year brings out the best in people. Because it’s a time for giving, feeling grateful for what you have and sharing the love around. But it shouldn’t just be the time for giving gifts to family and friends; it’s also the best time to roll up your sleeves and give back to the less fortunate, on both two legs and four.

What better way to get into the Christmas spirit than to volunteer?

This time of the year, volunteer organisations are inundated with requests in the lead up to Christmas and New Years. Especially across the western world, where hundreds of thousands of people head to homeless shelters and food kitchens to lend a helping hand.

But, what about all the meaningful causes around the world that get forgotten about during the silly season?

It’s time to think outside the box.

The world faces enormous challenges with the ever-growing epidemic of stray animals living on the streets, in poor health and reproducing at an alarming rate.

It’s estimated that there are around 8.5 million street dogs just in Thailand alone, suffering a very tragic lifestyle compared to your loved pets at home.

They sometimes get a little bit of love from temple monks who feed them leftover scraps, but they live their lives roaming around the neighbourhoods, hungry, sick and totally neglected by locals.

Introducing, Rescue Paws.

Founded in 2013 by a Director from The Global Work & Travel Co. and XploreAsia, Rescue Paws started as a simple part-time team of three, feeding a few packs of strays from the very local region of Hua Hin.

From there, they turned the focus onto the well-being of the street dogs. Feeding, vaccinating, de-sexing, conducting on-site medical treatment - the works. They even started to raise awareness among the locals through proper education on pet care & management.

The aim of the game is first to stabilize the population in Hua Hin and then reduce the stray animal population over time to get it to a manageable level. By de-sexing now thousands of dogs, the team is ensuring the population doesn’t keep increasing, and as the animals naturally pass away, the population size will shrink.

There are so many added extras you don’t have to worry about.

From the moment our volunteers touch down, their orientation and included cultural activities are designed to take them on a genuine leap into the fascinating Thai culture.

The project is located on temple grounds, so volunteers will learn the benefits of meditation, do a guided meditation and get a blessing from the Abbot. They are taken to the local food market and then taught to make delicious staples such as Pad Thai & Papaya Salad.

Plus the volunteer accommodation is located only a short 200 metres stroll from the most beautiful beach, Sai Noi Beach!

For volunteers who stay for a month or longer, they will have the chance to roam with over 300 elephants and other local species such as Bison and Gaur at the Kui Buri National Park. They will also visit the Phraya Nakhon Cave which is the most mystical and mysterious landmark in Thailand. All included.

Added bonus: If you head here for Christmas you will be able to join the Christmas Party and then ring in the new year with a BBQ, floating candles and fireworks on the beach!

This project is where rehabilitation meets play time.

This trip is specifically geared for animal lovers. It's not just for vets or vet nurse students - we welcome all walks of life. We’ve had everyone from school leavers and retired vets to accountants who just wanted to shake up their average vacation.

Related: Rescue Paws: The True Underdog

And they really, really, need your help.

Volunteering with Rescue Paws goes far beyond general volunteering duties. They simply can’t survive without volunteers. They are tasked to complete the feeding runs, check and update the records of their dogs, give them general love (this means LOTS of puppy cuddles), on top of assisting with all the other ongoing daily duties.

It’s an alternative feel-good holiday.

You’ll be situated just a few hours south of Bangkok, in seaside Hua Hin. It’s an exciting destination for anyone and everyone. Aside from playing a significant role in helping our furry little friends have a better quality of life, there is just the right amount of downtime to explore the city, relax and take part in all the included activities.

They have come a long way, but they still have a long way to go.

Whether you only have 1 spare week or you’re ready to throw yourself into 3 months, Global will ensure that you are contributing to a meaningful project while having the unique opportunity to spend the holiday period volunteering.

Ring in 2019 on a volunteer trip helping the street dogs of Thailand.

It’s the ultimate way to give back and discover the true spirit of the region and leave having made a noticeable, lasting impact..

Plus, by taking your much-needed break abroad, you can pair the tradition of Christmas with a meaningful adventure abroad, experience a new culture AND give back to man’s best friend in need.

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