The Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand is a marvel. It is a sanctuary not only for elephants (many of whom are rescued from logging labor, circus labor, or the abusive tourist trade) but also for dogs. You can visit and interact with the animals, learning their stories. You are able to feed the elephants, wash them, and of course offer lots of pats. I experienced a fantastic day visit, but here’s an even more exciting option….
If you have time (and $500), you can be a volunteer for a week. The dog unit also loves to have volunteers, and costs less. You can meet people from all over the world, live in a tribal village, and spend eight hours a day learning about the environment, working with the animals, and interacting with local school children.
If traveling that far and long is not a possibility, you can sponsor an elephant (about $100) or a dog (about $50) online for a year. You will receive updates on your animal. Please note all donations are in the local currency (baht) so the exchange rate varies.
Visit elephantnaturepark.org for details.