By Devon – 12 years old – 1 week volunteer
If you were to walk across the threshold of an elephant sanctuary such as this one, what would you expect? Elephants, of course! But when I came to this wonderful place two days ago, what amazed me was that there were so many other incredible creatures living alongside the villagers! Besides the elephants (those beauties are so calm, majestic, sweet and all-around amazing!), there are livestock and domestic creatures roaming the spongy dirt paths everywhere, with the villagers or simply hanging around.
One thing that surprises me is the abundance of cows! They graze in the villagers’ backyards and walk around with a smell of bovine and hay. When they aren’t doing that, they’re taking a nap in a chicken pen or wading in the river.
There are also chickens and roosters, and adorable little chicks running around by your toes all the time. The chickens nest in the weirdest places and make the funniest squawks; the chicks’ legs run faster than they can keep up with, and make the cutest little peeps; and the roosters have a beautiful, olive sheen to their tail feathers, but their irritatingly noisy “cockadoodledoo”s are quite, well, irritatingly noisy.
Then there are the creatures that the elephants most dis-like: the buffalo. These furry old things tend to stay by the river, soaking their shaggy coats in the muddiest places. They have awesome, long, black horns that decorate their heads in a most elegant way. The calves don’t have horns as long as their parents, but their cute little faces make up for that.
And the pigs! I can’t forget the pigs! There are tons of them in the village, cooped up in these little wooden pens, with comfortable straw mattresses to lie on. The pigs here in the Naklang village are hairier than you’d expect them to be; in fact, they’re almost as furry as the rest of the animals. Also, apparently they say that they bring good luck.
There’re also cats in the village, though I haven’t seen many. There’s a black and white small little kitten that appears and disappears at random intervals, and a couple of cats living at the edge of the village. There’s also one that stays at the KSES base, white with patches of brown. He’s quite tolerant of my many pettings and huggings. Not many cats are.
There’s at least fifty dogs (so many that you feel like you’re going to step on a wagging tail at any moment), each with their own name and beautifully colorful personality. Aside from the dogs, there are puppies, with the most beautiful eyes and the fluffiest coats, which you can pick up, cuddle with (fuzz therapy) and pet. All the dogs are loved and cared for by the villagers and the wonderful KSES staff, who go out at night, in the dark, to feed them with their special light-blue, black-taped bowls.
The animals here are all so friendly (and always annoyingly adorable) and you are sure to love them.
Thank you to all of you at KSES, for this amazing and beautiful experience <3