Enrich your life through volunteer work
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” (Margaret Mead)
We are looking for volunteers from all walks of life to help us with the many tasks that help improve the dogs’ lives. Whether you are in Chiang Mai for a few days or weeks or you are a long term resident, you are invited to help make an important difference in the lives of street and temple dogs at our shelter.
Care for Dogs asks for a minimum 3½-day commitment for visiting volunteers. Volunteer orientations are held each Wednesday at 1:00pm. During the orientation you will be provided an in-depth look at the various ways you can help on-site and more specific instructions about the individual duties. Please arrive prepared to get dirty. Once a volunteer has completed the orientation, we ask that all new volunteers arrive promptly at 9:30am on subsequent days. After 3 full days, you may set your own schedule, volunteering half or full days. On Sundays and public holidays, the office is closed to all visitors including volunteers as we have limited staff at the shelter.
Please be sure to read through the following information thoroughly. A link to our Volunteer Application is provided at the end of this page.
Things to Know Before Volunteering
This information is not designed to discourage you, but to make sure your commitment to volunteer at the shelter is based on the reality of the work.
Volunteering with CfD is real work – Be prepared to get dirty, smelly, sweaty and generally be a mess each day. While our volunteers can choose to say ‘’no” to projects like poop-scooping or giving baths, you should be prepared to do most of the volunteer duties. Keep in mind that we are a real working animal shelter and therefore our resources are too limited to have staff train people who are not truly interested in diving straight into the work at hand.
Wear appropriate attire – Please dress in clothes that can be jumped on, muddied and possibly even torn. Our dogs can be enthusiastic about greeting all the exciting new visitors and the work can get muddy at times. While you can get by with sandals, if you are an avid dog walker you may want to wear shoes that offer a bit more support.
You will see difficult things – Most of our dogs are fit, furry and funny but dogs just coming in off the street or who are undergoing long-term treatment for injuries, infections, cancers, etc. are always present at our facility. Many animal lovers can adjust knowing the dog is now in a place of hope, however if you have trouble stomaching such things, we understand. Just consider this carefully prior to volunteering.
Personal Safety – We recommend every volunteer have up-to-date tetanus and rabies vaccinations. Our shelter dogs are vaccinated and the risk of rabies is very low, however we feel that it is a worthwhile precaution because rabies does exist in Thailand. Volunteers that have not had a current rabies vaccination will be asked to sign a waiver during the orientation process.
Younger Volunteers – Volunteers under the age of 18 are required to get a Parental Consent Form signed by a parent/guardian before starting. Volunteers under the age of 16 must also be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times while on the premises.
There are many benefits for our canine residents when they are being walked by our volunteers:
- Walking provides an awesome opportunity for training! Dogs aren’t born knowing how to walk on a leash, you can help to teach our dogs how to follow your lead. During the walks you can begin (or continue) teaching commands like, sit, stay, and heel through positive reinforcement.
- Exercise helps to keep shelter dogs calm, sane, and content in their day to day routine as well as keeping the dog agile and limber.
- Increased socialization strengthens the ability for shelter dogs to connect and bond with people, thus increasing the probability of successful rehoming.
- It will also increase the shelter dog’s chance for adoption because they appear more relaxed, happy and calm after a decent walk with the opportunity to take in sights and smells from outside the shelter environment.
Baths are a great chance for ‘one-on-one’ time with the shelter dogs. Most baths here are a part of a medically prescribed regiment for a variety of skin or other health conditions. This is a great chance to just relax, massage and generally hang out with the animal in your care. Add a little rub down with a towel afterwards and you may just have a friend for life.
Socializing with the Dogs
Sitting, petting and brushing the dogs can make a big difference. Be it adult dogs or puppies just in from the street, the more comfortable a dog becomes with human contact the more likely they are to warm up easily to people and charm potential adoptive families. In addition, successful interactions between the dogs and people of all types builds their confidence and helps to set them up for success with all the people in their new forever homes.
While not the most glamorous job, removing ticks from the dogs is incredibly important. While we make efforts to keep the presence of ticks in the shelter to a minimum, they are very prevalent during the hot and rainy seasons. If left untreated, ticks can cause a number of health issues with the dogs, including blood parasites (which can be life threatening).
From changing blankets, to cleaning water bowls, and poop scooping, cleaning at any animal rescue never ends. It’s part of the gig. When you clean you are doing exactly as the trusted staff does in a routine the animals are familiar with. You have a purpose and they know what to expect. Everyone is relaxed. This is one of the best ways for new volunteers to spend some time in the dog runs without standing around awkwardly staring at the dogs. It puts the animals at ease, shows them you fit in and gives them a chance to approach you at their own pace.
These are just a few of the ways volunteers at Care for Dogs can help in the day to day operations of the shelter. Willing hands and an open heart are all it takes to make a difference in the lives of animals.
As a working shelter with finite resources we have limited space for each orientation. Please complete our Volunteer Application no less than a week in advance of your expected arrival. Our volunteer coordinator will respond as soon as possible. Please note that during the peak tourist season (November – February) our orientations can be fully booked up to a month in advance, so please plan accordingly.
If you are looking for local accommodations, where to eat, or how to get around town, we have compiled a Volunteer’s Resource Guide to help you plan accordingly. If you have additional questions that are not answered here, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.