For the last 6 weeks I’ve had the pleasure to volunteer at the Care For Dogs shelter in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand. Choosing to come here has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.
The shelter cares for about 200 dogs and puppies and is run solely by donations and the kindest of volunteers; both local and travelling.
These dogs captured a piece of my heat. As I write this and look through my photos I can feel tears in my eyes at the thought of not seeing them again (the other volunteers have started a pool to see how long it takes me to return!)
I’ve bought safety and joy to their lives for the short time I’ve known them. They have bought so much to my world that I can never repay.
Kara, Eddie, Oscar, Rick, Monty, Amino, Blue, Alice, Hobbs, Dok Mai, Mowgli, Bola, Bo, Scott, Tarn, Margarita, Tam, Lima and all of the puppies – I freely give you a piece of my heart. I hope beyond anything that I could want for myself that you will all soon find your forever homes and be loved in the way you deserve for the rest of your days.
Sheila, Irene, Tiina – thank you so much for being such wonderful fellow volunteers. I couldn’t have asked for a better bunch of people to share this experience with. You made me feel welcome and answered the many questions that I had as a new volunteer.
Erin, Julia, Susan, Kristiina and the many other short term volunteers that I had the good fortune to talk to at lunch or over the noise of the barking dogs. May you all enjoy your stay and your future adventures.
Thanks to all of the staff. You do a wonderful job each and every day.
Tips for volunteers
- Your first day will be overwhelming. The smells. The barking. Dogs growling. Everyone feels the same way so go easy on yourself. It gets much, much better.
- If you have a spare moment and feel like you “should” be doing more, then simply sit with the dogs. Pat them. Groom them. Show them some love. They will love the attention and will make them more likely to be adopted if they are happy around people.
- Wear covered shoes.
- If you can, take the dogs for a run rather than a walk. They love the chance to stretch their legs.
- Let the dogs have a swim in the creek while you out for a walk. For some of them it’s the best part of the walk.
- Thin t-shirts will result in scratches as the dogs will jump up to say hi. Wear something a bit thicker – you are going to be hot either way.
If you were reading this and thinking you’d like to give these guys a bit of love then you can donate at Care For Dogs. Every little bit helps.