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Travel Volunteers


Announcement: Volunteers are asked to make a minimum 3½-day commitment, beginning with Wednesday afternoon (half-day) training (read details below) and running through Saturday. If you are unable to volunteer for 3½ days minimum, you are still welcome to schedule an appointment for a ‘socialization tour.’

Socialization tours Socialization tours allow visitors to learn first hand about the work of Care for Dogs Foundation.
After a 20 minute tour, you will be able to ask questions, relax and take pictures of our wonderful dogs.
As we are a working rescue centre, all socialization tours need to be booked in advance and, because we may not have the available staff to show you around at the time you request, you may be asked to come at another time/day.

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Fees: Care for Dogs is a fee free program – though donations are always appreciated

Duration: 3½-day minimum. Maximum is as long as your visa will allow

Days/Hours: We ask for a minimum commitment of 3½ days and so, if you would like to join us during your stay in Chiang Mai, please make sure that your first day at the shelter is a Wednesday afternoon when we hold an orientation for new volunteers. Once you have completed the introduction and 3½-day commitment you will be welcome to visit the shelter from Mondays to Saturdays. Volunteers are not permitted to attend the shelter on Sundays or public holidays.

Younger Volunteers: Volunteers under 18 are required to get a Parental Consent Form signed by a parent/guardian before starting. Those under 16 not only need the signed form, but must be accompanied by one of their parents on at least the first 4 visits. (Forms available on request from contact@carefordogs.org).

Accommodations: Care for Dogs does not provide accommodations for volunteers; however we can connect you to a local home stay program, nearby resorts and other accommodations within walking distance of the shelter.

Meals: Meals are not provided. There is a local food stand our volunteers visit regularly for lunch and reasonably priced meals are also available at one of the nearby resorts.

Water: Filtered water and a refrigerator for your own beverages is available at the shelter

Dress: Dress to get dirty, hairy and happy. It WILL happen!

Please call or email in advance to schedule your volunteering time or your socialization tour in order to make sure we are able to meet you. Phone: 0847 52 52 55.

Volunteering in Detail – Please read before you commit

Thank you for your interest in volunteering with Care for dogs. If you are in Chiang Mai for a short time – a few days to a few months – you are invited to make an important difference in the lives of soi (street) and temple dogs at our shelter.

In the interest of best utilizing our staff’s limited time to train new volunteers, we require a 3½-day minimum commitment for visiting volunteer with the first week starting on a Wednesday and going through Saturday.

Each Wednesday at 1 p.m. volunteers may visit the shelter for an orientation followed by an in-depth look at ways you can help on-site (the shelter can be a little difficult to find, so please allow enough time to arrive for the shelter opening at 1 p.m.). As numbers are limited please contact the shelter on contact@carefordogs.org to reserve a place. Please arrive prepared to get dirty and to learn hands-on. After the orientation and 3½-day minimum (Wednesday afternoon to Saturday) you may set your own schedule, volunteering half or full days. On Sundays and public holidays the office is closed to all visitors incl. volunteers as we have only limited staff at the shelter.

The orientation period is a great training tool. It provides a chance for people to meet the other new volunteers, get to know dogs and vice versa, all while touring the facility, learning about the work/issues and so on. Every bit helps. Each time you volunteer you free up the staff, giving them the gift of some much needed time to take care of other more detail orientated projects that stack up around the shelter. Best of all the dogs get the love and added attention they deserve.

After you read the Volunteer Duties section, please continue on to read the ‘Things to Know Before Volunteering’ section below.

Volunteer Duties

Socialize with the Dogs: Sitting and petting 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 (from skin color and size to people who wear big scary hats) builds their confidence and helps to set them up for success with all the people in their new forever homes.

Cleanings: From changing blankets to poop scooping, cleaning at any animals rescue never ends. It’s part of the gig. Here is what you don’t know: The pros love to start off by poop scooping. It’s our little secret. 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 newbie’s 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.

Walking:  Walking does more than exercise the dogs. It provides the dogs valuable one on one interaction with a real person of their very own. It also gives a dog a chance to sniff, dig, mark and do what comes natural. You don’t need to be a marathon runner. In fact, it is usual better if you are not. Walking is as much a mental activity for a dog as it is a physical one. So come on by the shelter and take a dog for a stroll.

Bathing: Baths are another great chance for ‘one-on-one’ time with the shelter pups, while helping our team. Most baths here are a part of a medically prescribe regiment. The medicated shampoos may set for up to 10 minutes after being applied. 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.

And more: Picking up food bowls, cleaning water dishes, rotating and hanging laundry, brushing dogs, cleaning ears….

These are just a few of the ways volunteers at Care for Dogs can help in the day to day running of the shelter. Willing hands and an open heart are all it takes to make a difference in the lives of animals. The orientation is a great way to start off, meet your fellow newbie volunteers, talk to the old pros and the get to know the shelter staff. Come on out and join the team! The dogs are waiting for you!

Note: Odds are good that if you are around the shelter for very long you will be asked if you can help on or off-site with a growing variety of projects. Events from tours, adoption fairs, market booths, holiday sales, etc., come up all the time. These special events are optional and make for a fun way to experience another side of both animal rescue and life in Thailand. There are also many great ways to use your skills to volunteer on behalf of the shelter’s animals from all over the world. Watch for upcoming articles on other volunteer opportunities.

Things to Know Before Volunteering

Read it over all the information below before making the decision to volunteer These are important things to keep in mind. This information are not designed to discourage would-be volunteer, 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 – If you are not comfortable around dogs or not prepared to get dirty, smelly, sweaty and generally be a mess each day you may want to consider simply taking a tour &/or volunteering behind the scenes instead. 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 duties described below. 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. Again, you are always welcome to take a tour and learn about our programs instead. We can always use more ambassadors who are educated about our facility.

Volunteers need to work independently and follow instructions – Please come prepared to see what needs done and dive in. While you should always ask any questions you have it is important that volunteers work beside the staff, as part of our team, and not frequently take the staff away from other projects. For example, if you are walking dogs, get them out yourself and put them back yourself. Please don’t depend on a staff member to stand there and hand you dogs all day… Or, if you bath dogs please clean up after you are finished. In these little ways you can help us all get more done for the dogs.

Wear appropriate attire. Please dress in clothes that can be jumped on, muddied up and possibly even get torn. Our dogs can be enthusiastic about greeting all you exciting new visitors and the work can get muddy at times. Note: we do take our shoes off when entering the office, veterinary, food prep and quarantine areas. Most volunteers find it easiest to wear old sandals. However, if you are an avid dog walker you may want to wear something with a bit more support.

You will see hard stuff – Most of our dogs are fit, furry and funny but dogs just coming in off the street or who undergoing long-term treatment for injuries, infections, cancers.. are always present at our facility. Many animal lovers can adjust knowing the dogs is now in a place of hope, however if you have trouble stomaching such things, we understand. Just consider this carefully prior to volunteering.

Location – The Care for Dog’s shelter is approximately 20 – 25 minutes from Chiang Mai’s main tourist area (the moat). Maps to the shelter are available on this site in English and in Thai (for your driver). Contact the shelter in advance if you would like us to send you a driver familiar with getting to the shelter. Your cost for a songtow will be around 200 -300 baht one way to/from the central moat area. Most multi-day volunteers rent a moped or choose a homestay nearby.

Personal Safety We recommend every volunteer have an up-to-date tetanus vaccination.
We also require that our volunteers have a rabies vaccination before starting to work with the dogs. 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. The vaccination consists of three injections done over a 28 day period and
it is important that you give yourself enough time for this before starting to work with the dogs.  The vaccinations can be quite expensive in western countries so, if you have the time to complete the course whilst travelling, you might want to consider
having them done in Thailand (e.g. at a hospital in Chiang Mai) as it is usually
much cheaper here.  We are not in the position, at this time, to assist with funding of such health precautions.

Volunteers must take necessary steps to ensure their own personal safety when working at our shelter and minimize the risk of injury or damage to themselves or others. We cannot be held responsible for any injuries, loss or damage to personal property whilst at the shelter, such as clothing, jewelry, bags and other effects.  Nor are we able to cover the costs of any medical expenses incurred whilst volunteering
at the shelter e.g. bites, sprains, cuts etc.  We therefore also require that all our volunteers are covered by a personal travel insurance.

Fees, Meals and Accommodations – There is no fee to volunteer at Care for Dogs. Of course donations are always appreciated. While we do not provide accommodations, for those wishing to stay closer to the shelter we may be able to help arrange a home stay with a family in the local Thai community. The family also has mopeds and bikes to rent to their guests. Email in advance for homestay details. For meals there is a noodle stand within walking distance of the shelter of we often go to a nearby roadside restaurant for lunch. Meals at either place cost around 30-50 baht.  Filtered water is provided at the shelter.
More info you can find in our FAQ page: http://www.carefordogs.org/contact/faq/#volunteering

Hours – Our shelter facility is open to volunteers from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Monday through Saturday. We close for around 1 hour midday when the staff goes to lunch.

Please ensure you call or email in advance to schedule your volunteering time or your socialization tour in order to make sure we are able to meet you. Phone: 0847 52 52 55 and thank you again for your interest in Care for Dogs.