Powerful Woman Turns ‘Speck of Gold’ into Haven for Animals


Written by Marianne Willemse of Love Animal House in Thailand

In the rolling hills 13 kms north of Chiang Mai, a speck of gold dust barely visible on Google Earth has become a haven for over 100 abandoned pets and abused farm animals. We have 30 cattle and buffalo, rescued from slaughterhouses. Abandoned and abused dogs and cats are always “flying” over the gate. And then there’s the illegal dog meat market. We’ve been on its tail for 6 years now, rescuing more than 1,000 dogs and inching toward a law that we are told will be fast tracked once 50,000 Thai nationals sign the petition.

Our sanctuary, Love Animal House, is known by the locals as “the house that loves animals.” We never had a sign up, but people and animals always found us. You could call it jungle traffic.

“Yes, that’s them, down the road there,” people say. “You can’t miss it. The only house around with a foreigner, a bear and a pig in it!  You’ll hear the dogs barking.”

Back in the day, I was the only person around who would trek 20 kms to rescue a poisoned elephant in the middle of the jungle, or pull a burning buffalo out of a collapsing barn, catch escaped monkeys on rampage or pick a mangy dog off the street. I had no prejudice. I didn’t care what species it was. If it needed help and no one else did anything, I HAD to help it. I never thought about tomorrow. I would always find a way. But now today, I must admit, I do need help.

A Time for Others to Circle Around These Animals

My personal resources are now gone. Three years ago, everything I brought with me to Thailand had been spent, dissolved into fuzzy friends. Now I take to the streets of Chiang Mai, spending hours each night to collect $100 – $200. New generation Thais want change. They love what I am doing, but animal welfare is still new.

I have become popular as ‘the animal lady’ and have counted a lot of baht (Thai currency) in coins over a year. Everybody gives a little bit and so it is nearly enough to take care of the animals in need, but I have to collect it myself. People used to give me 10 baht (30 cents US) because they’d seen me on TV but after seeing me picking up cats and dogs everywhere I campaign, people have started to donate 100 baht ($3 US) and lots of hugs! Sadly, my volunteers have no luck collecting donations as they are not ‘recognized’ as I am and people simply won’t give to them.

This has been going on for three years now and I’m drained. A lot of work has been done, but I need help now so as not to collapse physically. I can’t keep doing 18 hour days and begging for help at the market for hours each night. I usually get to sleep at about 2-3 am and then I start work again at 6 am. I’m over 60 and need to sit down and let my experiences flow so that people may learn from them. (see Marianne’s book)

I will never retire from my mission to liberate the souls of animals. It’s just come time for me to ask for help.

To make a charitable donation to the Love Animal House haven for rescued animals, click here


Related Stories:

Pit Bull Saved By $1 Million Grant From PetSmart Charities

From Shelter Dog Facing Death to New Broadway Star

Wonder Women Cover Tiny Island With Help For Street Cats And Dogs



Janet B
Janet B8 months ago


Leanne B.
Leanne B3 years ago

Bless those who care and do for others.

Past Member 3 years ago


Marchal caroline
caroline marchal3 years ago

Thank you

Kerry C.
Kerry C3 years ago

What a truly wonderful and caring human being.

john pierce
John Pierce3 years ago

God bless you for being there and caring so much. You make the world a better place. Thank you for sharing!

Adilene W.
Roger W3 years ago

Thank you.

Catrin Kroehler
Catrin Schuetz3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Jeannet Bertelink
Jeannet B3 years ago

Animals are her life. Great woman , thanks for helping animals.

Sheri Schongold
Sheri Schongold3 years ago

Thank you for your help. The animals know how much you care and thank heavens for you.