When I first visited Langkawi in 2006, I had lunch with friends at a place called Nam’s at Bon Ton Resort. Fabulous dining in an exotic atmosphere was high on my list of vacation adventure. But what caught my eye that day was a small pamphlet with the name LASSie on it. I knew that word from my childhood TV star, but this was referring to Langkawi Animal Shelter & Sanctuary.
I read about their rescue program with interest and realized what a great opportunity to offer a ‘gift’ to them as well as a ‘gift’ to loved ones. Does my aunt really need another potted plant? Or a sweater she’ll give to Goodwill? No. Coming from a family of animal lovers, I could easily tick off all my necessary gifts and give something even bigger.; a donation to an animal sanctuary. I took those pamphlets back to the United States and made my Christmas list.
Fast forward to 2008. Little did I know at the time that I would be living and working in Southeast Asia and that Langkawi was in my future. (A long story, but never mind lah).
Moving to Malaysia also meant bringing 2 American ‘stray’ cats with me, my ‘kids’. (And before you say anything about bringing ‘sand to the beach’, I have since adopted a total of 10 cats and then some). Loving home, food, shelter, and medical. So, when looking for a veterinarian, I was told to go to Bon Ton. I only knew of Bon Ton as the great restaurant and resort, but I took the advice and have since passed this information to others. Bon Ton Clinic has now became synonymous with Bon Ton Resort.
The Langkawi Animal Shelter & Sanctuary ( LASSie )program is tied in with the Bon Ton Animal Clinic. The program is run from profits from the resort and restaurant in addition to donations and sponsorships. What started out as a clinic for strays has developed into a full-fledged veterinarian clinic. Local pets as well as stray dogs and cats are cared for by the staff (which often includes many volunteers). In fact there is ample opportunity for volunteering! There is also a fantastic gift shop in the Bon Ton Resort, and the unique items they offer also help fund the Animal Sanctuary.
Not everyone has the same feelings about pets, or animals in general, but animal lovers can often get their heart strings pulled while traveling. I recently saw a dog, on a Thailand beach, dragging his legs behind him. I started crying and picked up the dog to carry him to the shade. Quick to judge I was. It turned out that this Ko Lipe pup had a huge extended family and was well loved and cared for. He had been in that condition for a while and so well fed I could barely pick him up!
I have adopted plenty of critters and if they find their way to my doorstep, I do what I can. But, there are others that are not so lucky and find no friendly doorstep . They spend their time looking for food, even as young babies. With a few extra donations these animals can have a better chance. They actually give a lot to the community in pest control and unconditional love. They don’t ask for much. With donations to LASSie, an unwanted animal can get a loving home, food and medical attention or a stray can have a better chance at fending for one instead of an entire litter. LASSie also embraces community education and understanding about animal care .
The history of Bon Ton goes back 20 years to Narelle and her love for animals. She has done her part and then some. If you happen to come to Langkawi, please take a look at Bon Ton’s Animal Clinic (Langkawi Animal Shelter & Sanctuary ). Give some love to a furry friend, take a pooch or two for a nice walk, or maybe give the International gift of love with a donation.