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 dogs’ lives. Whether you are in Chiang Mai for a few days or a few 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.
The WVS Care for Dogs shelter asks for a minimum 3-day commitment from visiting volunteers. Orientations are held every Wednesday at 10:00am. During your orientation, you will be provided an in-depth look at the various ways you can help on-site and more specific instructions will be provided about individual duties.
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, choosing to volunteer either 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 WVS 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. Please keep in mind that we are a real working animal shelter and therefore our resources are too limited to have our 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. Please 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.
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.
- Increased socialisation 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.
Socialising with the Dogs
Sitting, petting and brushing the dogs can make a big difference, 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 this is not the most glamorous job, in the world, 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 and water bowls to poop scooping, cleaning at any animal rescue shelter is never ending. When you clean, you are doing exactly as the shelters staff do in a routine that the animals are familiar with. You have a purpose and the animals 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 that volunteers at the WVS Care for Dogs shelter 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.
There are several options for accomodation locally and we can provide a list of places to saty for a range of budgets varying from 15 pounds to 50 pounds per night.
Subject to availabilty accomodation can also be offered at the WVS care for Dogs house at a rate of 10 per night not including meals.
No qualifications are required but a sense of humour is a definite requirement!
What to pack
Volunteers should take practical / comfortable clothes to work in e.g (scrubs). If you would like to purchase a WVS scrub top please contact the office or visit our online shop.
- Practical / comfortable clothes to work in (eg. scrubs)
- Wet weather gear and warm clothing for the evenings
- Bug spray
- Ear plugs and eye mask
- Prescriptions & over-the-counter medication (eg. Imodium, Paracetemol etc)
The project may be extremely short on certain supplies and would likely be very grateful for donations. Please get in touch with us to find out if there is anything in particular that would be helpful to bring with you. If you have any spare room in your bag on the outbound flight, it would be highly appreciated if you are able to bring some spare supplies to use during your trip. This is at your discretion and entirely optional.
It is essential that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance for this project which also covers you for veterinary work. We recommend Go Walkabout who offer tailor made travel insurance policies for WVS volunteers. Please note that fully paid members of WVS also receive a 10% discount on Go Walkabout policies.
Health & Vaccinations
This information should be used as a guide only. For up to date information on immunisations please consult your doctor. You will need to allow plenty of time before travelling for your immunisations to be effective. DO NOT LEAVE THIS UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE. As you will be working with animals the Rabies and Tetanus vaccines are essential. We have provided links below to websites with useful information on immunisations and travel advice which we highly recommend that you visit.
- www.fco.gov.uk - Website of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for travel advice generally and specifically by Country.
- www.lonelyplanet.com - For help travel advice
- www.nathnac.org - Useful information on immunisations required for travel
- www.mdtravelhealth.com - Helpful travel advice website, updated daily.
UK passport holders are required to obtain a visa before travelling. Please visit the Foreign Commonwealth Office website for further details: www.fco.gov.uk. All WVS volunteers are required to organise their own visas.
There are trip dates available throughout the year. Please speak to a member of the team on +44 (0)1725 557225.
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Benefits of volunteering with WVS
By volunteering with WVS you are making a huge difference to the lives of animals and communities around the world. Our trips usually include a small admin fee which helps cover: