Searching for something meaningful whilst travelling?
**Please read this post and provided links CAREFULLY if you’re considering volunteering. This assignment requires an open mind, flexibility, commitment and responsibility**
Message from the host
Hello surfers and travellers!
Are you in Thailand now, in the next few days, weeks or months, and looking for a volunteering opportunity? Love dogs? Want to make a meaningful contribution to street dogs and the local community in Songkhla, Thailand?
If this resonates with you keep reading.
Tamara Johnston was a teacher in Australia before she decided to follow her heart and change her life forever. She sold her belongings, rented out her house and moved back to Thailand – where she used to teach – and launched a charity called “Thai Street Paws Rescue”. Since then she has been fighting every single day to give street dogs a better life.
The current situation for dogs in Thailand
The living conditions for dogs in Thailand are pretty bad – and Songkhla is no exception. Dogs breed uncontrollably because of lack of sterilization; they are receptive to diseases; puppies get dumped and left for dead frequently; authorities move around packs of street dogs to brush up the facade of the town whenever they need to look good for important visitors – disrupting established hierarchies between dogs – creating risky situations in the process.
Despite the daily challenges: Tamara, together with volunteers and a few local helpers, has sterilised, vaccinated and saved well over a hundred dogs over the years. A fair proportion of the dogs, although not all, make it out of Thailand for adoption.
Your volunteering role
However, due to the constant challenges and changes the workload for Tamara is increasing. The situation RIGHT NOW is precarious as she is currently in a process of moving well over 40 dogs from a house that has been used as a base for volunteers and foster home for dogs.
They will be moved to a more remote and open land to ensure more stable operation for the future, but the work is hard and balancing on a knife-edge of catastrophe. She is building a new shelter which needs a fence and other facilities for dogs and volunteers. At the same time, Tamara has a deadline – which is dangerously close now – for moving everyone and everything out of the foster home. Hence, the new shelter needs to be good/safe enough before that deadline.
That’s where YOU come in.
In general, any volunteer with any skill is sought after; the most important thing is that you keep an open mind and that you’re willing to do what’s necessary to keep the daily operation running.
More specifically, anyone with skills in the building is sorely needed at this stage to drive the project of building a new shelter forward.
THE EXCHANGE / Volunteers will help with:
- Maintaining and running the foster home for dogs.
A daily routine looks something like:
- mopping floors,
- prepare food
- feed the dogs,
- keep dogs company,
- detick them,
- and if possible – get some rehabilitation training done with them.
During the day there might be other general or specific chores to be done. Finally the volunteers need to get all the dogs settled for the night around 9pm.
- All of the above requires cooperation and planning with other volunteers, and perhaps Tamara and her Thai staff
**Urgent matters and other missions**
- You might be asked to help to catch a dog, join the vet, assist with feeding dogs on the street and going shopping for supplies, etc.
- RIGHT NOW there is a HUGE need to get the NEW shelter READY
IN RETURN VOLUNTEERS ARE PROVIDED WITH:
BASIC accommodation for free
- You’ll have to PROVIDE YOUR OWN FOOD.
- There is NO CHARGE involved with being a volunteer like some animal charities do.
Hence, Thai Street Paws Rescue does not provide more than the accommodation and the experience itself.
- Being committed to how long you’ll stay and to be loyal to the cause is CRUCIAL
- Any other value you can bring besides the aforementioned is GREATLY appreciated.
- You’ll need to be prepared for humble circumstances, filth and dirt, pee and poo, ticks and flees, barking, howling and early mornings.
- It’s your personal responsibility to having vaccines, travel insurance and visas in order.
- The situation is precarious and urgent and therefore requires a real commitment.
- The life experience and love you’ll receive from these dogs will definitely be enough reward for your work here if your mind is open for this experience.
This short documentary is also a nice way of getting a glimpse into this world:
This will hopefully give you an idea of what to expect.
Michael, Tamara and the local community of Songkhla, Thailand.
In this post, I won’t go into details about the typical chores of being a volunteer.
If you’re interested, I urge you to take a look at her Facebook page to get an idea of what is going on: https://www.facebook.com/thaistreetpawsrescue/
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
I would like to clarify my role in this if you’re curious about that. About 1 year ago I was volunteering for Thai Street Paws myself. I am available to share my experience, so feel free to contact me:
Michael R, from Oslo, Norway