There are some situations which animal lovers stumble upon that are simply too upsetting to ignore. We’ve seen animal rescue teams go above and beyond for injured stray animals, we’ve seen people save abandoned animals even in the midst of natural disasters, and we’ve seen people change the entire course of their lives to help the creatures living in their vicinity. Just recently, a woman by the name of Junie Kovacs moved to Koh Lanta, Thailand to open up a cooking school. When Kovacs arrived on the island, however, she was met with an unexpected sight: starving and injured stray dogs everywhere!

As Kovacs relays, the reason there were animals everywhere was because many of the businesses in the area had shut down and so the dogs didn’t have any trash to eat.

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The stray animals were in very poor shape, and since the closest veterinarian was three hours away, the locals saw the dogs as a nuisance. 

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As a result, many of the pups were killed.

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Determined to do something, Kovacs decided to transform her cooking school into a restaurant and use the proceeds to help. In 2005, she opened up an animal sanctuary with a 24-hour veterinary clinic. 

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As the years have passed, many tourists have since become volunteers at what is now known as Lanta Animal Welfare

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People from all over Thailand visit the sanctuary to get help for their animals. 

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Many of the animals have been adopted into homes all over the world. Konvacs also started a sterilization program which has brought the stray population of the island down by about 90 percent! 

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Today, there are only about 40 dogs and 70 cats living at Lanta Animal Welfare.

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Konvacs truly changed this island for the better! 

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What Konvacs was able to accomplish on this island in Thailand is not only impressive because of the volume of animals she has helped, but because she was the only one who rose to the occasion. It’s very easy to see hundreds of stray dogs and decide to euthanize them thinking there’s “no other option” or simply ignore them. It’s much harder to see a problem of such great magnitude and decide to change your everyday life to ensure long-standing change. Many of these animals owe their lives to Konvacs and her group of volunteers. To learn more about Lanta Animal Welfare, visit their website.

All image source: Lanta Animal Welfare