Tell us a bit about yourselves?
“In 2018, we decided it was time to do some extensive travelling. So, we quit our jobs, downsized our house, and got a tenant in. We planned to travel for about a year, but when the year came around, we just carried on! We had a short hiatus back in NZ because of Covid, then we were back on the road again! We have visited Southeast Asia, India, Nepal, Europe, UK and Ireland. But we keep getting drawn back to Thailand, specifically for WVS Thailand.”
“Part of our travel plans included wanting to do some volunteer work. We had previously volunteered at a couple of other Thai shelters. So when we were planning our trip to Chiang Mai, we basically googled and WVS Thailand came up. We came for just eight days, but at the end we didn’t want to leave. We actually ended up changing our travel itinerary so that we could return. And we’ve kept coming back, staying longer each time. We’ve currently been here since Dec ‘21, and are not in any hurry to leave yet.”
Talk us through a typical day of volunteering at WVS Thailand.
“Well, we work every day, except Sunday when the shelter is closed. Our main priority is taking the dogs out for their walks. We make sure that every dog gets their daily outing. And with there being 30+ dogs this takes up most of our day. We even take a different ‘pack’ to the park for lunch each day, so it’s non-stop for us. Other duties can change daily, but they include giving regular or medical baths, helping with cleaning or bedding changes. We also look after the dogs that come in temporarily for treatment, helping to socialise them before they go home or get adopted. We are always on hand to help wherever needed. And after all that is done, we get to hang out with the dogs and get lots of cuddles, that’s the best bit.”
Could you tell us about a favourite patient?
“That’s a tough one! We’ve bonded with quite a few of the dogs here over the past few years, so our ‘favourites’ are always changing. Some of those have been special dogs that needed extra care and attention, resulting in gaining their trust to help with rehabilitation. This is very rewarding for us and obviously beneficial for the dog’s future.”
What would you say to people thinking about volunteering with WVS?
“Just do it. You’ll have the best time, meet some wonderful people, and get to spend your day looking after some lovely dogs. What are you waiting for?”
How would you describe your volunteering experience in just 3 words?
“Life changing experience.”
Is there anything else you would like to share about your trip?
“This experience has changed everything about us. We know that even when we move on from here, we will always return, for as long as it’s possible. We have made that our commitment.”
If you’ve been inspired by Annie and Paul's experience in Thailand and feel ready to get hands-on with helping animals in need in, take a look at our volunteer placements around the world.
Got questions about volunteering abroad? We have got the answers to your most frequently asked questions. Our team are on hand to help you from start to finish!