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But for Tauranga legal assistant Aleyce McLatchie it will all be in a day’s work, if she is to strengthen her bid to help reduce, or in fact prevent, animal cruelty.
In June, Aleyce and partner Sam Molloy, both 29, are flying to Thailand for an eight-day holiday. While there, they will forgo sightseeing and exploring the city’s vast cultural history for a day – choosing instead to volunteer at the Soi Dog Foundation.
The voluntary day is made possible with the help of Harris Tate Lawyers, where Aleyce is a legal assistant, who are donating to the cause financially and giving her a paid day’s leave as part of their ‘Day off for charity’ initiative.
In the coming months each of Harris Tate’s staff will take a day’s leave to give back to the community or an organisation, in a bid to help organisations benefit the local community.
For Aleyce and Sam, the Soi Dog Foundation, based in Phuket, represents a large animal refuge facility housing more than 400 dogs and dozens of cats which have been rescued either from the streets of Thailand or from the brutal Asian meat trade.
Every year tens of thousands of dogs (both street dogs and stolen pets) are inhumanely transported from Thailand to neighbouring countries where they are butchered by cruel barbaric methods, according to the foundation.
Those that are still alive are not humanely killed. Many are tortured, often for hours, before being skinned alive. The reason for this is that people believe that the pain inflicted leads to the tenderising of the meat.
Visions Aleyce, who has a a one-year-old Cavoodle (Cavalier King Charles and Poodle cross) named Ted, is steeling herself for, having limited exposure to animal cruelty.
“The Foundation has advised that you need to be prepared to witness sights you are not used to seeing at home, including dogs with burns or machete wounds, missing eyes or deformities from previous injuries”.
“It will be an uncomfortable experience, but I think it will be rewarding as well. You need to see that side to appreciate what they are doing,” admits Aleyce.
While there, Aleyce and Sam will spend the day assisting with socialising the shelter dogs, which is the main role of volunteers at the facility. Socialisation is an integral part of the animals’ rehabilitation as many are fearful of humans given the cruelties inflicted upon them.
In the meantime, they are raising the necessary funds required for vital medication, surgical supplies, toys and other care items to benefit the hundreds of dogs requiring these necessities.
A Givealittle page has been set up and Dr Liza Schneider at Holitsic Vets has agreed to help provide the medical supplies at cost price. Mount Maunagnui wildlife photographer, Jack Preston, who this year visited the Soi Dog Foundation, is offering photography packages to help out. For every $60 photography voucher purchased, Jack will kindly donate $30 to the Soi Dog Foundation.
“We are extremely grateful for all the help and support we have already received, as well as from Harris Tate, who has provided funds and been accommodating to allow me to follow a passion of mine.”
Upon her return, Aleyce hopes her newfound knowledge can help mount a case for the Soi Dog Foundation to become a registered charity in New Zealand, as it is in six other countries including Australia.
She also harbours ambitions to obtain a law degree to assist on animal neglect cases.
“This is the start of my journey and going to Thailand could fire my passion for helping out further down the track.”