McMahon nurtures animals in Thailand

October 3, 2017
Paige McMahon

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. – This summer, sophomore animal science major Paige McMahon, of Greenfield, Wisconsin spent three weeks in Thailand helping animals and learning hands-on what it’s like to be a veterinarian. Traveling with study-abroad organization Loop Abroad, McMahon was selected as part of a small team that worked directly with rescued elephants at an elephant sanctuary and provided care at a dog shelter.

McMahon volunteered alongside veterinarians from the U.S. and Thailand. For two weeks, she and her team volunteered at the Elephant Nature Park in northern Thailand to work hands-on with the giant animals and learn about animal rescue and conservation on a larger scale. The Elephant Nature Park is home to over 60 elephants that have been rescued from trekking, logging or forced breeding programs. Many of them had been abused and suffer from chronic injuries or blindness. At the park, the animals are cared for by volunteers from all over the world. McMahon helped feed, bathe and care for elephants, as well as learn about their diagnoses alongside an elephant vet. The Elephant Nature Park is also home to over 1,000 animals, including cats, dogs, water buffalo, horses and cows, and is sustained in huge part by the work of weekly volunteers like McMahon.

For the other week of her trip, McMahon volunteered at the Animal Rescue Kingdom dog shelter in Thailand. The shelter is home to more than 100 dogs that have been rescued after being abandoned, beaten or abused. She provided check-ups and cleanings, diagnosed and treated ear and eye problems, took and tested blood, administered vaccines, cleaned and treated wounds, and helped with sterilization surgeries.

According to McMahon the most fulfilling part of her experience abroad was working alongside vets in a hands-on environment and learning from both American and Thai vets. “The different viewpoint from the diverse set of people I learned from will stay with me for an eternity,” she said.

McMahon hopes to study abroad in the future again with Loop Abroad, next time in South Africa. After finishing her bachelor’s degree at UW-Platteville, McMahon hopes to attend veterinary school.

Written by: Sung-Ae Reed, Loop Abroad and Ryan Kotajarvi, Student Writer, UW-Platteville Communications, kotajarvir@uwplatt.edu

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