3 Dogs, 5 Cats and a Horse

on December 4, 2017

So much of what we do at TravelBud involves people and all that human interaction and communication is one of the best things about our work. But as our team has grown to accommodate new and diverse portfolios, we’ve come to realise something else about our staff: we all really love animals.

Almost all of us have pets and barely a day goes by at the TravelBud office without a rousing chorus of “aaaawww” in response to the latest photo of one of our little angels. So yes, we’ve written a blog post about them – they deserve it! But we’re also very excited to be launching what will hopefully be the first of many programs for animal enthusiasts like us…

That’s right, TravelBud will soon be offering a volunteer program with Rescue Paws, an incredible animal welfare organisation based in Hua Hin, Thailand.

Walking rescue dogs on the beach in Thailand

Two TravelBud teachers Bianca and Lauren spent a few hours volunteering at Rescue Paws during their cultural orientation

Rescue Paws is a non-profit organisation dedicated to improving the lives of stray animals in Thailand. The intense hustle and bustle of life in high density regions is not easy for any living organism, and stray animals are no exception.

As we explore our world and extend our energy and compassion towards fellow humans, we feel that it’s important to bear in mind that there are other creatures out there who also need our attention. We hope that the impact Rescue Paws is already making in Hua Hin will extend widely and we are excited to see more people getting involved in this kind of volunteering.  

In the meantime, while we look forward to launching this phenomenal program, we’d like to introduce you to the TravelBud pets:

Frida and Eira

Nick’s two gorgeous gals are named Frida and Eira. These cuties are ‘limited editions’ – a classic mix of all the best types of doggo. Frida was rescued when she was just one week old, from a rubbish dump in Stellenbosch, and Eira was rescued by a friend in Mitchell’s Plain at just 3 months.

Cuddle buddies

Cuddle buddies

From troubled beginnings, these two have grown into playful pooches who love chasing balls in the park, beach runs and sandy swims and games of tug-of-war with sticks and ropes.

Frida and Eira twinning

Did someone say walkies?

It’s not surprising that things turned out so well for them with all the love they get from Dad.


The newest addition to the TravelBud pet clan is Leja, Pete’s adorable Flandoodle… that’s right, a Flandoodle: a French Poodle crossed with a Bouvier des Flandres. Get a load of that pizazz.

Leja taking a nap on her sheepskin

Spot the Flandoodle

She’s just over 3 months old but already weighs 7kgs and will probably weigh in at around 32kg when she’s fully grown. Leja hasn’t been around for long, so at this stage her notable skills involve sitting, lying, barking and walking on her leash.

She’s always following Pete around and playing with one of his old running shoes, so it’s already clear that she’s a bit of a daddy’s girl. It could also be because Mom keeps trying to put bows in her hair – she hates that.

Flandoodle with bows in her hair

Why the bow though?


Benji is Stu’s adorable Sprocker Spaniel (half cocker, half springer). He’s a year and a half old, with boundless energy and a love for the outdoors.

Benji in the grasslands

The grass is always greener with Benji

Benji loves beach swims and mountain hikes (just like his dad) and he’s particularly partial to pinecones and a good game of tug of war.

Benji looking for a game of tug of war

Tug of war, anyone?


On the larger side of the pet spectrum is Roscoe, Jamie’s magnificent horse. He’s a Nooitgedachter, a fairly rare breed. A real guzzler, he will eat absolutely anything and everything. He’s been taught to bow for treats but his deep love for anything edible has led to him bowing at random times in the hope of receiving yummy snacks.

If he could, Roscoe would definitely be a lapdog!

Roscoe the Nooigedachter horse

Roscoe, just after straightening his fringe


This treasure of the feline community is quite literally the light of my life. Named after the most expensive football player in the world, she’s undisputedly worth even more than 220 million Euros. She’s also really skilled at dribbling and regularly runs laps around our home with small bits of household debris between her little paws.

Neymar basking on a summer's day

Ginger on concrete with a splash of sun

She’s unique in so many ways, including the fact that she doesn’t mind getting wet, is learning how to DJ and can jump from the floor onto my shoulder in one smooth leap. She’ll actually ride around on any shoulder that will accommodate her – rumours are brewing that she’s in fact part parrot, originating from Brazil along with her talented namesake.

Neymar the explorer

Neymar the explorer

But in her downtime she’s also a cuddler and likes to sleep under the covers with her devoted parents. Her favourite treats include pellets, Fancy Feasts and the brine from cans of red kidney beans. Her only animal friend at the moment is the clay deer sculpture in our garden but we’re hoping she’ll become more social and join the OCA (Observatory Cats Association) in due course. And surely rise to the honourable position of chaircat as she matures…

Neymar settling down for a nap

Foxy feline

If anyone wants to hear more about her, we can arrange anything from a Skype call to a fully-fledged conference with powerpoint presentations. I could talk about this baby all day.

Neymar having a nap

Undercover agent


I found it very difficult to write about this darling girl because I suspect she might be almost as cute as Neymar which I didn’t expect was possible. Shocked, but pleasantly surprised! Phoebe is Tristan’s adorable 5 year old British shorthair. Her endearing little face honestly speaks for itself – she’s gentle and shy, with the sweetest nature.

Phoebe with her game face on

Look at that face!

Her favourite games include hide and seek and waking up Mom and Dad with light taps from soft paws. In the humble opinion of this author, she also has a meme-friendly face, not unlike the infamous “No-it-all Cat” (if you don’t know, look it up).

Hide and seek with Phoebe

Hide and seek with Phoebe

Watch this space for Phoebe’s budding internet career…

Phoebe the lookout cat

Lookout cat


Borris, the regal grumpster, was a surprise gift for Grace’s mom (a crazy cat woman in the best possible way). Grace found Borris at the Hermanus SPCA and he’s been with the Martens family for 3 years now. Being a large ginger male who exhibits German efficiency on a daily basis, Borris seemed an appropriate name.

Borris having some downtime after a long day of sass

Borris having some downtime after a long day of sass

He is the quintessential cat, serves sass regularly and turns on the charm conveniently around dinner time. He enjoys baking bread on one’s chest, sunning himself in the garden and is particularly fond of Nik Naks.

Despite outward adversity to games of dress up, Grace believes that deep down he thoroughly enjoys being adorned in appropriate costumes for various festive occasions. The Martens Christmas card for 2017 is testament to this classic tom(cat)foolery.

Borris the Christmas Cat

Martens Christmas Card 2017

Vincent aka Kakkies aka Boss Cat

The love of Saskia’s life is Kakkies, an intrepid traveller and comforting cuddler. He sleeps in Saskia’s arms at night and loves to bring gifts of nibbled birds or mice. He’s nicknamed Kakkies because when she was a tiny human, Saskia couldn’t say kaatjie (Afrikaans for kitten) and would run around saying “kakkie” – she still gets teased about it and the name has stuck for sweet Vincent. He loves the finer things in life: hanging out on the piano, occasionally singing a tune, and of course his fishy cat food which he politely requests when he’s hungry.

The bold Sir Vincent

The bold Sir Vincent

Kakkies really comes into his own in the car – when Saskia drives up to Sutherland, he chills on her lap the whole way (it’s quite a long way for those that don’t know) and even takes over the wheel when he’s had enough of Saskia’s terrible driving.

Quilted Vincent

Nothing to see here


It seems we have a winner for the most creative kitty amongst us – Rupert refused to be written about and insisted on writing his own bio…

Hello, I'm Rupert

Hello, I’m Rupert

I am a Maine Coon kitten, aged 11 months.  I live with Luke and Justine.  Justine has long hair and smells nice. They dote over me excessively.  This can be annoying when I am trying to sleep.  I have discovered that one needs to manage them, something which I am working on currently.  

Some of my favourite things include playing in water (I am an expert at fishing leaves out of the pool), catching bugs (Luke calls me the “exterminator”, which I think is probably a little bit of an exaggeration), and generally interfering with whatever Luke and Justine happen to be doing around the house from time-to-time.

Rupert the Magnificent

Paws and reflect

I have recently moved in with Luke’s mom and dad (Luke and Justine call them my “gran and grandpa”).  Luke and Justine have also moved with me.  We are all living there while our house is being renovated.  It is taking a very long time, and Luke and Justine keep complaining about how much money it is costing.  I could have told them this. Anyway, I am delighted with our new temporary home.  There is a massive garden, bird bath and compost heap. I’m still deciding if I will move back with Luke and Justine when the time comes.  

Well, I’m not sure I have much more to tell you, other than the fact that I have met Stu, Liam, Tristan, Peter, Nick, Grace and Saskia.  I like them all very much, especially Grace who is my godmother.  

Best wishes to you all at Travelbud.  

Kind regards,


Rupert the boss cat

Rupert, over and out

That’s a wrap from the TravelBud pets – we love them and can’t thank them enough for loving us and keeping us sane when life gets a bit hectic!

Interested in Teaching English abroad? We’ll send you more info!


About Emily Gammon

Emily is a copywriter at TravelBud and has travelled extensively around the Asia. She carefully crafts the copy for TravelBud's life-changing teach English Abroad programs.
Filed under  Inside TravelBud 


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