Volunteering with Dogs in Thailand

Today we have Dale from Angloitalian, Follow Us! talking about his experiences volunteering with dogs in Thailand. 


Where did you volunteer?
I volunteered along with my partner Franca at the Care For Dogs shelter in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Why did you choose this organization / how did you hear about it? The long story cut short is that we watched a really distressing video about the state of care of many dogs in Thailand who unfortunately find themselves caged up and sold for the dog meat trade that is still very active in many parts of Asia. We reached out to some animal activists we know and Care For Dogs was top of the list.

What was a typical day like?
There are the usual rituals of early morning feeds, poop scooping, bathes and de-ticking, but for the most part the role of the volunteers at Care For Dogs is to spread fun and as much love as possible amongst the dogs, giving them as much care as they rightly deserve. Most of the day is spent either walking with the dogs or playing around with them in the large courtyard that makes up their living space. There are also several large cages around the edge that are great to go in to give some fuss to the more shy dogs, the quarantined-due-to-sickness dogs, oh and of course, the huge bundles of puppies.




How long did you spend there and how much did it cost to volunteer there?
The volunteer period is restricted to four days that begin on the Wednesday or each week and finish Saturday evening. The shelter is closed to volunteers during the following days so that the regular staff can do some of the more time-consuming work and all other business. Volunteering at Care For Dogs is free. The only cost you will have is feed yourself during that period and to transport yourself to the shelter unless you’re using one of the nearby guest houses that Care For Dogs can reserve for you before you arrive.

What did you learn from your experience volunteering in Thailand?
That there are some incredible people in this world who’ll stop at nothing to make a difference in this world. Seeing this shelter run and maintained by people of all sorts of nationalities for one common cause was heart warming and it made us think that perhaps for too long we’d not considered that there’s always something we can do to help, whether it’s helping out for a week, helping out for a month or just popping down to your nearest dog shelter back home every Saturday morning to put some smiles on some unfortunate dogs face.




Do you think you will volunteer again?
Straight after our four days at Care For Dogs we spent a month at another dog shelter in Thailand which has given us an uncountable number of great memories and a further passion to volunteer with animals as we travel. Would you recommend volunteering in Thailand to anyone else? Most definitely. We always try and encourage people to step out of their comfort zones and trying to do things a little more ‘locally’ and this certainly gave us a view into local life. We were far out enough from Chiang Mai to be amongst the rice fields and the small roads where just a handful of people live. We ate at local street-side restaurants where we ate fresh and delicious Thai food made to order for just a few baht.




Can you share a favourite memory from your time volunteering in Thailand?
For me personally it must be how great it felt to finally earn the trust of some of the most frightened dogs who were in one of the quarantined areas for a form of canine cancer. The dogs here didn’t often get much attention due to the nature of their disease and the only time they see anyone is when they have to be given chemo treatment that makes them very ill so they’re always trying to hide. By the fourth day some of the dogs would happily come up to me in the cage to be combed and played with and it made me beyond happy to see and heartbroken to have to finally say goodbye. It’s something I’ll never forget.

Dale is a British male, who after a surprise birthday trip to Venice decided "this is the life for me". Since June 2012, Dale has been travelling full-time in search of the best Architecture, Art, Design & Music the world has to offer, sharing everything he finds along with his partner & co-blogger, Franca Calabretta, on the travel website Angloitalian, Follow Us! Follow their adventures via Angloitalian, Follow Us!, Twitter or Google+

Have you ever volunteered in Thailand? Let us know in the comments below – we would love to hear about your experiences.

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