Dog and Cat Rescue - Volunteer Reviews


Read what our volunteers say about their time volunteering

Find out more about the Dog and Cat Rescue project

Greg - 2020

What did you find most rewarding?

“The best thing about volunteering is realising that not only are you caring for wonderful animals at the centre, but you are doing so alongside like minded people who share the same love and passion for the animals as yourself.

I had always wanted to volunteer at a dog and cat sanctuary and the Dog and Cat Rescue project was the first place which came up when I started to really research the idea properly. It took me a while to finally make the decision, and once I did and I started to plan for it, it was very exciting. I am so glad I decided to volunteer as it has been the most rewarding experience of my life. The best thing about volunteering is realising that not only are you caring for wonderful animals at the centre, but you are doing so alongside like minded people who share the same love and passion for the animals as yourself.

Pluck up the courage and do it, you will not regret it. Plan accordingly and research the Centre and the Island so you feel comfortable for when you arrive, and of course meet with the other Volunteers regularly to ensure that you always have people around you when you need company.

What did you find most challenging?

The most challenging thing for me would have been working in the heat. When you are doing the morning shift, it really heats up between 10-2. The afternoon shift is a bit cooler however.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?

As they have won many different awards over the years as volunteer providers.”

Paul - 2020

“I really didn't know what to expect as it was my very first volunteer experience, and also the first time I'm travelling alone by myself. It was a really great experience that I will never forget. The team is so kind and all the volunteers have the same purpose in the center which make it easier to make friends there. 

I really found myself useful on a daily basis, I applied to do isolation shifts so I had to take care of cats that can't be with all others due to sicknesses (mainly ringworm), in isolation you are working totally alone so you learn a lot about organization and rigor because cats life depend on what you do during these shifts. Dogs shift are really busy, there is ALWAYS something to do, between walking the dogs, feeding them, clean their areas/kennels. My favourite part was the C-section (which is the equivalent as isolation for cats), dogs here are living in a kennel with no grass, they don't see much people on a daily basis and are sick, so they really need cuddles and time with volunteers to be happier.

Days off are really welcomed when they arrive as it's really a physical work (especially dog shift), so you can spend them on the island as Koh Lanta is the main island of the "archipelago", you have many things to do (cave, national park, old town, may bars and restaurant, many beautiful beaches...). If you are staying longer, many Thai people rely on transport to live so you can go on other islands nearby for cheap prices. Also, even if my english is (really) not perfect, doing some tours around all the dogs areas with tourists was a good experience for public speech. You can also introduce your favorite dogs and spend a very little time in all areas in 15 minutes. Tours are as well rewarding, tourists are always thankful for this.

What did you find most rewarding?

Absolutely insane dogs transformations. I would really recommend to stay for more than 1 month to dedicate some more time to a dog/cat you like. My 3 favourites have been adopted which is fabulous.  I can remember (I will never forget him to be honest) Potter, who was really shy and scared of people, it was the most rewarding moment when I understood he trusts me, he came from being shy in the back of the area to waiting for me in front of the door wagging his tail. I really miss him and hopefully he has been adopted by one of the volunteer who was close from him.”

Axelle - 2019

“It was a great experience, my first trip outside France, alone… These are not holidays! Even though there is the beach and the palm trees! 6 days out of 7 of work, 6 hours a day under a crushing heat. And you live in community, so you have to learn to do your dishes alone sorry! 😉 But you heal, socialize, play, help all cats and dogs that you can in this center! Where, all the supervisors help you and give you all the support you need and that's great! It was another life, at all levels, I come back with the desire to leave as soon as possible to volunteer again in other countries where they need help but especially people to motivate to help!

What did you find most rewarding?


Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”

Tegan - 2019

“The hardest, yet most rewarding three weeks of my life, a total rollercoaster of an experience. It was very sobering to learn about the mistreatment suffered by animals on the animal (and in some cases, witness it first hand in seeing animals arrive at the centre with wounds on them), yet I feel so honoured to have been able to give them comfort and assistance, and watch as their happiness and health increased tenfold. For every animal we couldn't save, there were more we could, and did, and it was worth every bad day, every time I was feeling frustrated and tired, every time it was overwhelming, it made it all worth it in the end.
It was also great to have the pleasure to meet and work with people from all over the world that I never would have had the chance to meet otherwise, all of us sharing a love for animals.
As difficult as some days were, I'd absolutely do it again

What did you find most rewarding?
Witnessing the recovery process, from when the animals would come in afraid and neglected or abused, to becoming healthy and happy; animals that used to be scared of human touch coming around to being excited to see us and wanting our affection

What did you find most challenging?
For the first week, finding out the histories of the animals was very upsetting (this later went away though, as I saw how far they had come from where they previous were).
Also working with in relatively close quarters with people in humid conditions could be frustrating

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Be prepared for some heartbreak and a lot of hard, humid work (though all rewarding)

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
They offered all of the assistance and information I needed as a first time volunteer

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”

Libby - 2018

“I had a really good time working on this project and despite it taking a few days to settle in, I loved every second of it! I mainly spent time with the cats, feeding, cleaning, socialising etc. however there were many chances to help out the dog team by walking the dogs or preparing their food. I loved getting to know the cats’ different personalities and behaviours.

What did you find most rewarding?

Seeing the animals getting adopted and the affection they show towards you

What did you find most challenging?

Seeing the animals who had just had surgery, however it was amazing to see that despite being hurt they still loved people!

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?

There is a lot of physical work to do so you need to be prepared for that.”

Chelsie - 2018

“My experience at the Dog and Cat Rescue project was honestly amazing. I had never travelled before and never on my own, so this was very daunting for me. However it was the best thing I have ever done. You meet amazing people, volunteers and supervisors, and the reason we are all there in th first place, the cats and dogs. These guys are what the centre is all about and everyone has a huge amount of love for these animals which is shown every single day. The role is not easy, it is very hard work and physically demanding, but absolutely worth every second and I would love to do this all over again!

What did you find most rewarding?
Watching the sick animals being treated and get better, being a part of their journey watching their personalities come out more and more and be able to intergrate with other dogs after possibly being alone in c-section where the sick animals are kept.

What did you find most challenging?
Saying bye to the dogs when they left to go to their forever home. This is a very happy time for the dogs and cats, but I grew to love them all very much and it was emotional for me every single time!

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Do it! The centre would not be able to run if volunteers didn’t give up their time to go help, and they need us! If you really adore cats and dogs then this is the place for you I promise! Best 7 weeks of my life.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”

Jess - 2017

"How would you describe your volunteer placement with the Dog and Cat Rescue team in Thailand? 

My whole volunteer placement was one I will never forget. I definitely underestimated how much hard work it was both physically and mentally but the value I feel I added was definitely worth it!

This specific placement was one close to my heart and I am so grateful I had the opportunity to work alongside so many amazing other volunteers.

What did you find most rewarding?
Interactions (walking, playing etc) with the dogs and cats.

What did you find most challenging?
The conditions of the animals at times, it was difficult to not get upset sometimes.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Its very hard work, definitely no walk in the park!

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
I really wanted a volunteer project involving dogs and cats. Pod was one of the only company's that had this specific project

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? 

Chrissie - 2017

"I spent three months volunteering at the Cat and Dog Rescue in Thailand and cannot recommend it enough to anyone who wants to work with animals, with the added bonus of being in a beautiful part of the world. You get to live on site, which means that even when you are not working you get to hang out with the animals; walking the dogs or cuddling the cats.

What did you find most rewarding?
All the work was pretty much hands on with the animals, so the rewards were instant. Yes there was a lot of cleaning involved, but that is not an issue if you are an animal lover as without the volunteers no one would be there for them. Working in a team full of staff and volunteers who are all passionate about animal welfare is so heart warming, we would often spend our evenings out talking about the animals.

What did you find most challenging?
I was working regularly in "Isolation" with some of the really sick and poorly cats. Quite often they would not make it and it was always very upsetting.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
You need to be prepared to work hard, as it is physically demanding work, and usually very hot. You also need to be emotionally prepared to witness some upsetting sights, as you won't be able to give the animals the 100% attention they deserve if you are an emotional wreck.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
Because I heard a lot of good things about them and trusted I would be in safe hands.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer?

Aran – 2016

“The experience was life changing, and by the end of my placement had me feeling remorseful I wasn't staying longer. The impact you bring is visibly noticeable and provides an immense sense of personal satisfaction knowing you are bringing about meaningful change. The experience has a whole has humbled me and opened my eyes to how much different the world is outside the luxuries of the western world. As a whole I can give this placement my approval, but advise potential applicants to prepare yourself, this isn't just fun and games.

What did you find most rewarding?
Seeing animals that we helped care for get nursed back to health.

What did you find most challenging?
Having to say goodbye to the people and animals we meet.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Tell them it was a great experience, and that the first week or so can be frustrating when adjusting. After you get past that, it is great.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”

Frances - 2016

“I went into this project not knowing what to expect, however really wanting to help out as it seemed like a great cause. I was able to see this first hand once I arrived at the centre, the work they do at the centre truly benefits all the animals, and furthermore, they really need your help! The Dog and Cat Rescue Centre not only focuses on the current wellbeing of animals, but aims to improve the welfare of animals in the long run. This is definitely visible on the Island as the number of stray animals in noticeably smaller than in other parts of Thailand. I think regardless of how long you are able to help out, or of how much experience you have, if you are an animal lover I would definitely recommend this for you. It is definitely difficult at first however the positives outweigh the challenges by a mile.

What did you find most rewarding?
During my placement I spent a majority of my time working in the recovery area, which as the name suggests, looks after sick cats and the occasional dog. It was quite heart-breaking to see animals in such conditions, however it was very rewarding to know that by cleaning their cages, feeding them or even just offering some company/cuddles, I was able to help even in the smallest way possible.

What did you find most challenging?
Going into the project, I knew my weak stomach was going to be an issue for me. As a lot of the animals are sick, especially in recovery and isolation areas, you end up cleaning a lot of poo and vomit. Initially I found this very challenging however it honestly only took me a couple of days to overcome it. Although I was only at the centre for two weeks, by the end of my placement, cleaning up after animals no longer bothered me as it had in the early stages.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
I believe you need to go into this project recognising that you are going to be working very hard and the living arangements will be quite simple. It may be difficult at first but it is very easily overcome and by the end of it I'm sure you'll be glad you did it.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
I chose POD because they seemed to be the most ethical volunteering company. With a lot of the other companies I looked at, you just couldn't be sure of where all your money was going, however POD seemed to be the most trustworthy.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”

Emma - 2015

“What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Just do it! It's the best experience of my life so far and I will never ever forget my time there. The friends I made there are for life and the experiences are invaluable.

How would you describe a typical day volunteer at the Dog and Cat Rescue centre in Thailand? If you were on the morning shift then first of all you would see which section you were on so cats, dogs or quarantine and isolation. If you were on dogs then the dogs would be fed and given any necessary medication. Then the kennel dogs would be walked and the pack dogs would be taken to their outside areas. The kennels would be scrubbed clean and the dogs would be walked again. The afternoon shift would take over at 1pm. Cats is basically the same, fed and clean the car house and car recovery and quarantine and isolation is the same too feed and clean and also make sure all the animals are okay. If you had morning shift then the afternoon was free to do whatever you wanted. If you had afternoon shift it's basically the same as the morning.

What did you find most rewarding? The whole experience itself was very rewarding. Being able to help even a little bit in the care of these animals was extremely rewarding.

What did you find most challenging? Working on isolation was hard as many of the cats didn't make it so when you've grown attached to the cats and then they die from their illness it is very hard to move on from it.

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad?

Volunteering abroad not only broadens your horizons but it also allows you to experience other cultures that may not exist in your home country. England is quite multicultural but even so I was I prepared for the culture change when I arrived in Thailand

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer? I had seen Pod on Facebook and read through the reviews on their page and was happy with what I saw

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer to your friends? Yes, can't wait to go again next time!!!”

Pauline - 2015

“My time at the Dog and Cat Rescue centre in Thailand was amazing!

The team is really nice and Pod volunteer help me a lot during all the placement. This is a really great project, they are doing a lot of different things. They really need volunteers, because the project couldn't work without us. They have no subventions and the centre works only with donations, volunteers, and a few staffs. Considering all this, this is amazing how everything is done.

The first few days are difficult, because you have to get use to the weather, to injured animals and to the work which is really physical. Volunteers need to be motived and to really love animals. For me, it was one of the best time of my life and I regret not stayed longer.

How would you describe a typical day volunteering at the Dog and Cat Rescue centre? There are two different shifts: one in the morning (7am-1pm) and one in the afternoon (1pm-7pm). Every day except for your day off, you have to join one of them. Usually, people are splitting in 3 groups: Recovery area and cat's house; dogs; and isolation (which is the area for the really sick animals), so your job can change every day, there are a lot of different things to do. A lot of cleaning everywhere, but you are always in contact with the animals. Every task is written on a board and don't worry, people are teaching you at the beginning. But basically, it's cleaning, dog walking, feeding, and doing some tours for the tourists.

What did you find most rewarding? To see animals who were first really scared or injured getting better and then getting adopted and finding a lovely family is the best reward for me. Most of the time, the new owners are sending pictures and you can see how happy animals are!

What did you find most challenging? The nightshift was the worst for me. Being alone in the centre from 7pm to 7am was a huge challenge for me, I can be really scared by nothing during the night!

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Be ready to work really hard, this is absolutely not a holiday!

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? Because the centre really need it, animals need you. This is an amazing experience which makes you grow up.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer? Because they organize everything, they are really nice and will help you anytime if you need it! It was my first time in Asia and I felt secure all the time.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer to your friends? Yes”

Julia - 2015

“I had such a great time volunteering at the cat and dog rescue centre on Koh Lanta. The work is hard and the weather is very hot but it is so worth it. The centre does such great work with extremely limited resources. Not only are they saving animals' lives, but changing the attitude and overall societal view of respect for animals on the island.

How would you describe a typical day volunteering at the Dog and Cat Rescue centre in Thailand? The morning shift is 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the afternoon shift 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. You are on either shift every other day. There is a checklist at the center that shows what needs to get done each hour - tasks like feeding the dogs, feeding animals in the recovery area, cleaning kennels, supervising puppies, dog rotation, etc. Also there is a tour of the center every hour - volunteers give tours of the center to tourists on the island (after a week or so you'll know the center well enough to give tours).

What did you find most rewarding? Tours! It is really rewarding to show tourists the great work that the center is doing and also to be able to show off your knowledge of the center and the individual animals' stories. The tourists are so amazed by the great work and it's just a great feeling knowing that by showing the center, you're indirectly encouraging donations which is the sole funding of the center.

What did you find most challenging? The accommodation...all the money really does go towards the animals, which is definitely a good thing but also means you're really slumming it for your time there.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Go for at least a month! I wish I had stayed a couple extra weeks.

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? Combining a travel experience with volunteer service is the perfect way to see the world while contributing to the country you're in.

Why did you choose Pod? They organize every and are incredibly helpful, responsive, and kind!”

Vicky - 2015

“This project is great, as well as doing all the usual jobs of cleaning & feeding you get the love & attention from all the cats & dogs which makes it worthwhile. I wish I could have stayed longer!

How would you describe a typical day volunteering at the Dog and Cat Rescue centre in Thailand? Either start at 7-1 or 1-7 but both shifts involve feeding and cleaning the animals, walking the dogs, washing the dogs and checking the animals in all the different areas.

What did you find most rewarding? I'm a cat person and getting to play with the cats, feeding & petting them was great!

What did you find most challenging? Walking the dogs in the heat!

Were there any aspects of the placement which you would like to see improved? No everything at the placement was well managed and the centre ran well

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Pack clothes you don't mind getting ruined as its all very hands on!

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? It's a great experience getting involved with other cultures and helping out

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer to your friends? Yes”

August - 2014

“It was the best thing I have ever done!

The work and the 16 hour journey there were very tiring but everything was made so much easier by the lovely people I met at long the way.

The animals are all so entertaining. Everyone has their favourites, mine were a stray dog called Hope who had to be encouraged to go on walks and cat called Birthday, who got quite bold once he had recovered from cat flu!

Some of the animals' stories are sad and it can be difficult to witness the states they are in when they arrive at the centre. The vets have a huge amount of pressure on them and do a very good job, especially considering how few resources they have.

Between shifts I enjoyed pottering about the centre, lounging on hammocks with cats and exploring the island and its beaches. It is all fairly laid back. I was lucky in that every night we'd take it in turn to cook dinner for the other volunteers, or scoot to a restaurant/bar (I can't cook and so bought in pizza on my night).

Overall I would really recommend this project. There are lots and lots of feeding and cleaning up to do but also so many fun/ funny moments. I wanted to stay longer and adopt all of the animals!”

Caitlyn - 2014

“The project was amazing. I really enjoyed working with all the wonderful animals and other volunteers. It was very hard work but very rewarding.

How would you describe a typical day volunteering at the Dog and Cat rescue project in Thailand? If we had the morning shift we would feed all the animals and put all the dogs out into the areas. We would then have to walk all the dogs that were boarding and clean all the cat areas. We would then walk the dogs if we had time.

What did you find most rewarding? Working with all the animals and seeing the injured animals come in and get better. It was amazing to see how much a difference that the shelter makes for the island

What did you find most challenging? working in the heat. There was also not many volunteers so the workload was huge

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? be prepared to have an amazing time but work very hard

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? just the experience of living and working in a country so different from home

Why did you choose Pod? Read some good reviews

Would you recommend Pod to your friends? Yes”

Elisa - 2014

“I had an amazing time, the centre is great, very well managed. I had a very good contact with animals, people from the centre or tourists visiting. As your accommodation is in the centre you are really a part of the everyday life of the shelter, spending all the time you want with the cats and dogs. I really recommend any animals lovers to go volunteer there!

How would you describe a typical day volunteering at the dog and cat rescue centre? Feeding cats and dogs and giving there medicines, cleaning cages, cats and dogs areas, kitchen, clinic, take dogs for walks, doing tour for tourists explaining the goal of the shelter and how it works, giving dogs to tourists for walks...

What did you find most rewarding? Helping when injured animals arrive to the shelter and watch them getting better day after day.

What did you find most challenging? Avoiding dog fights between different packs

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Maybe it's easier for people that already had a dog.

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? You meet fantastic people from different countries that like animals and nature like you and you really feel helpful to a nice project.

Why did you choose Pod? The projects proposed looked very interesting.”

Graham - 2014

"The project was all I thought it would be and more. The people there really care about what they are doing and even though they work on a limited budget, they manage to achieve so much. The Island itself was amazing and the social life is great. As long as you are not scared of hard work and able to slum it a bit ,you will have a fantastic time!!

How would you describe a typical day at the Dog and Cat Rescue project in Thailand? Early shift start 7.00am. Usually a team of 4/5.Carry out various tasks such as feeding cats dogs working in recovery and isolation areas. Cleaning out kennels and putting dogs /cats outside.10.0am Start walking some of the dogs and carry out weekly tasks such as deep cleaning recovery area etc. First tourists arrive so we need to show some of them around and arrange for them to walk some dogs if they ask. Continue with other tasks such as laundry sorting out feeds washing dogs. Maybe walk some more finish.

What did you find most rewarding? Seeing the other volunteers that I trained, training someone else. Seeing the animals we had cared for become healthy and active.

What did you find most challenging? Getting up at 6.30 am for my early shifts!!

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? Because otherwise you are missing a great life experience. You will laugh, cry get mad, get frustrated, but boy is it worth it! oh and you might get drunk occasionally!

Why did you choose Pod? Found it through internet and was the only one doing this specifically

Would you recommend Pod to your friends? Yes"

Luis - 2013

“My time here seems like a dream. This centre located in a breath-taking beach, full of good-hearted people who try to make you feel at home. And the centre full of dogs and cats that have been mistreated or are looking for a home, and they see you for 5 minutes and already treat you like you have been the best owner and friend in their lives. The people that I met there were also amazing, so admirable. They trusted me with helping them with veterinary stuff, when my background has nothing of that, and we really became a family while I was there.

Please describe a typical day: There were 2 shifts. I usually did the morning one, which was from 7 am to 1 pm. I would wake up to grab some breakfast, and at 7 we would start feeding the cats and dogs, and then releasing the dogs from their kennels into their bigger areas. By 9 we would start cleaning the kennels, checking up on the animals that were sick to change their towels and feed them their medications. We then would walk the dogs to a river nearby or the beach. The dogs that stayed back could be showered or de-ticked. Some days we could get a new animal brought to the center, or a group of people asking for a tour to meet the animals. By 1 we were ready to leave everything in the hands of the late shift. We would go grab some lunch, and go to a hotel nearby that let us use their beach. We would return around 7 to have dinner with the rest of the team, and talk.

What did you find most rewarding? Witnessing a few animals that arrived at the centre in very bad shape, get better, get adopted, and now enjoying their lives at a home. I think especially of the cutest orange cat, Sita, who was about to die more than a few times because she was bitten by a dog when she was a kitty, and then had the flu. She recovered, and now is at home in London, with one of my fellow volunteers.

What did you find most challenging? Watching some of the dogs and cats suffer, or even die.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Be willing to see some graphic, nasty things. Be ready to feel frustrated at times, but you will also become stronger day by day. Allow yourself to take it easy when it's not your turn to work; you will deserve the rest, and will need it for the next day.

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? The satisfaction you get from volunteering; the places you see, the people you meet, the animals you help are simply breathtaking. And those feelings get better when you leave and see your time there in retrospective. It's life-changing like nothing else in the world.

Why did you choose Pod? It was recommended by a friend, and you were great in arranging a total of 3 months worth of volunteering for me in a perfect way.

Would you recommend Pod to your friends? Yes. Thank you!”

Lisa - 2012

“This project is suitable to people looking for experience working with animals, or who just enjoy being surrounding by cats and dogs. To be part of an amazing welfare center, which solely concentrates on the animals welfare was exhilarating. While I was out there, I felt that every daily task, big or small was imperative to ensuring a happy stay for the animals.

What did you find most rewarding? The most rewarding part of the experience was seeing a dog/cat come in with an injury or skin problem, caring for them daily is rewarding it itself, but leaving the center after they have fully recovered makes the whole experience worth it. Another rewarding aspect was building the trust with the animals. While I was there Momma, as we called her and her 4 puppies were dumped outside the center, as expected she was very nervous and not keen on the vets or volunteers. Gradually she became comfortable around us and we could go in to the kennels and pick up the puppies. By the time I left she was rolling over on her belly for belly rubs when I entered the kennel and the puppies were climbing all over me, testing out there nibbling abilities!!

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? Volunteering abroad is a rewarding experience and just a little care and attention can mean so much to someone/ an animal, who has never experienced it before. The animals at the centre could not speak, but when I left I knew they were grateful and could feel the sadness when I said goodbye. If you show them love, they will return it, with kisses and cuddles!!

Why did you choose Pod? After doing my research POD was the best voluntary experience for my requirement to work closely with animals, the hands on opportunity was my main reason for choosing the placement. The feedback from other volunteers is so important when travelling abroad alone and the one to one communication from Gemma made me feel safe.

Would you recommend Pod to your friends? Yes.

 A typical day at the center; morning shift would involve getting up and out of my room to be ready for the 7am start, luckily if you stay in the accommodation provided this is 30 seconds away. The first task of the day is to give the cats their breakfast, once the bowls are ready they piled up on a tray and carried out the front exit of the center, once at the center you will see why (to avoid tripping over the cats, who know the daily routine). The best part about feeding is the cats is the sight and sound of it, having quickly placed the cats bowls down so they all get fed, with 20 cats dotted all round the cat house all you can hear is the cats chewing. After collecting the bowls, the food is then prepared for the dogs, including medication if needed (check on the board). Collecting the bowls the main kennel is fed, sitting in the kennels with two dogs to ensure they don't fight, or try to eat each others food. Different dogs react in different ways, with Oscar he jumps up and around in circles before he eats, while Belle always had to give me kisses before she would eat her food. Having fed the main kennel area, while someone else feeds the puppy area, the bowls and cleaned. The dogs are then let out in the correct order to their areas. One person would clean and feed the animals in isolation and recovery, making sure to give them extra attention as they get depressed. Dogs in recovery are walked, while the cleaning of the kennels begin, followed by any daily tasks on the board. The dogs are walked, either to the river or beach, many a times I was nearly dragged off my feet because certain dogs love to catch the crabs! My favourite task was to socialise with the groups in their areas. Fish and rice is cooked, ready for the afternoon shift. There were a lot of tourists while I was there, considering it was low season, so I gave regular tours explaining what the centre does and it was times like this that you realise you are so happy to be volunteering for such a great cause.”

Lyndsey - 2012

“Please describe a typical day at the project: Morning shifts involve feeding cats, dogs, puppies, recovery & isolation animals, cleaning cages/kennels/litter trays. Lots of dog walking, playing with animals, doing laundry & cleaning. Afternoon shift: walk any dogs who haven't already been walked, cook fish & rice for animals, cleaning of volunteer areas, playing with animals, giving tours, feeding animals, cleaning cages for recovery and isolation animals. Once a week you sleep in the kennels to be there to stop the dogs barking and monitor recovery and isolation animals.

What did you find most rewarding? Seeing a lot of happy cats and dogs and also seeing three cats re-homed.

What did you find most challenging? The fact that the centre has improved and saved the lives of so many cats and dogs but there are still so many on the island that need help.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Expect to get stuck in and get mucky! But also to have an incredible experience.

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? To help and understand the difficulties and differences in the developing world.

Why did you choose Pod? For the assistance and help given both prior and during the placement.

Would you recommend Pod to your friends? Yes

Thank you for helping me have an amazing experience!”

Gideon - 2012

“Such a great place. Go with an open mind to everything and you will love every bit. Great staff, great volunteers, great island and great animals!

What did you find most rewarding? Letting the dogs off leash at the secluded beaches and seeing even the shyest having a great time. Also meeting all the other volunteers.

What did you find most challenging? The work is hard graft and monotonous to do day in and out but the atmosphere makes it worth while.

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? it’s a great experience, much better than going to Spain and boozing for a week

Would you recommend Pod to your friends? Yes”

Adrian - 2012

“Totally different to anything else I've ever experienced! Despite travelling lots Lanta was the first time I've lived on a remote tropical island! It was basic and challenging at times but the dogs were fantastic! You really get a sense of achievement when a dog arrives all skin and bones or is rushed into the surgery having been hit by a truck or abused in some way and then recovers or you manage to gain their trust. You see all sorts on this project from dogs who have had boiling oil poured over their heads to former pets who have simply been left when their "owners" have abandoned them and left the island. We even had what was initially suspected to be a gunshot wound! As a volunteer at the centre you will play a huge part in helping to treat them, doing things you would probably never get the chance to in Europe. Now back home I really miss the dogs, one or two in particular.

A typical day: “I arrive at about ten to seven, I've been awake since 0630 when the call to prayer plays out across the village, grab a quick tea or strange tasting coffee (no minerals in the water on the island!) greet the person who has done the sleep over shift who is usually on their way to bed, lead whichever dog has been keeping them company to his/her kennel, by now everyone else will be waking up and waiting for their breakfast, I like to wander around and talk to my friends before starting the early tasks... You shouldn't really have favourites but it's impossible not to, there's an excited whimper from the direction of Bones' kennel. She was found living under the stilts of a restaurant drinking seawater and starving, she's now getting stronger and still being only just into adulthood still has a lot of growing to do. I say good morning to her and she yodels a greeting back managing to knock the waterbowl across her kennel with her tail. I wander up the kennels where Rufus is staring bulging eyed, tongue hanging out insanely. I greet him and he runs around in circles barking and chasing his tail, he still hasn't noticed I've gone back to the kitchen area. There are two of us on Morning Shift, we split up and the other person prepares the dog food (fish and rice) while I do the cats. Feeding the cats done, I check the board for today's tasks, the other volunteer is busy sorting out the dogs into their pack areas It's 8am now and getting really hot, in about two hours the tourists will begin arriving. I decide to take Bones for a walk, she loves that. I open her cage and she greets me with her usual hysteria, squealing and shouting. I put her lead on and she tows me out of the centre. We head in the direction of the river and suddenly Bones spots something in the grass and pounces! I pull her back just in time to see an enormous snake slithering away. I tell her off sharply hoping something will sink into her overexcited young brain the next time a cobra happens to be in the area! She's completely unbothered, grins at me and off we go again. On our way back Bones spots something she hasn't seen yet, a tour group is riding by-on elephants! She stops, gawps, checks with me to see if I'm concerned (are these enormous things dangerous?) "Want one!" Want one! Want one!" she's prancing up and down on the spot. "Bones" I say quietly. "Bones" slightly louder. Twenty minutes later and I lead a still elephant fixated young girl backwards into her kennel. By now the tourists are beginning to show and the heat is really ramping up. It's one of the hottest days so far, the thermometer currently reads 42c and the air is totally still without a breath of wind. The rest of the morning passes in a blur of tours, dog mess and Michael's escape attempts. Suddenly it's 1pm and the afternoon shift arrive with boxes of Pad Thai. As I'm leaving to head down to the village a car skids into the drive and the vets rush out, all very "Casualty"! A beautiful husky appears to have been shot. Later it turns out it hadn't been and had some kind of worm burrowing holes in it. Lovely!....”

Helena - 2011

“I enjoyed the time at the centre!! I would have loved to stay longer! The dogs and cats are amazing. They really love to cuddle =) You will fall in love with them! It's easy to get to know the people that work at the centre, you won't be alone. There are many restaurants where you can go have lunch or dinner together. There are parties you will go to and there is the occasional get to together at the centre. So it's not just work. You will have time to enjoy the island and island life. Very interesting is also the medical part of the centre. Even though you may have no experience at all with medical stuff, you will learn about it when you're there. It's really great. And you can watch surgeries if you want to.

Typical day: Depending on if you have the morning or the afternoon shift - The morning shift starts at 7am and ends at 1pm. You come to the centre and you prepare the food for the cats and the dogs. Then you feed them. As the dogs are rotated, so that they are not in the same area the whole day, you let the first group out in the first area. Then, if you want to, you have breakfast with your fellow workers and you can decide who wants to do the dog tasks and who wants to do the cat tasks. Doing the dog tasks means: getting all the groups out into the areas (rotating the groups - last rotation is at about 12am), filling up the water bowls in the areas, cleaning the kennels, cleaning 2 of the areas (it's always area 1 and another one that changes everyday). Doing the cat tasks means: cleaning the isolation cages, the recovery cages and the cages in the so called Happy Cat House. When the tasks are done (probably at about 10am), you have time to walk the dogs. When you're on the afternoon shift your shift starts at 1pm. You feed the cats and dogs that are fed 3 times the day (kittens or puppies). Then you fill up the water bowls outside, clean the litter trays of the cats and the transportation boxes. You do the laundry and you do the weekly task. After that you walk dogs. At 4.30pm the cats are fed. At around 5.30pm you prepare the food for the dogs and fill up the water bowls in the kennels. Then you'll bring them into their kennels and feed them. After that you wash the dishes, bring water bowls from the outside areas in and wash them and you'll sweep and mop the recovery area, the consultation rooms and the surgery room.

Most rewarding part of the project: Helping and caring for sick or injured animals and see them getting better. But also caring for the dogs and cats at the centre and seeing that they enjoy themselves and trust you and love to cuddle even though some of them have had bad experiences with humans.

Most challenging part of the project: Being patient when owners came in with their sick animal and they didn't (want to) understand that they have to take care of the animal so it won't get sick or so it will get better.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Do it! Enjoy your time there. But know: you will fall in love with the animals and it is really hard to leave.

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? It may sound a little cheesy but it really is like all the people say: It's a great experience and you will learn so much (mostly about yourself). Also it is really rewarding getting to help animals!!

Why did you choose Pod and would you recommend us to others? I choose Pod because I read good things about them and they really were very helpful with organizing my trip to Thailand (visa and leave of absence from university). I would recommend them to others.”

Julia - 2011

"How’s it going at the centre? I have been quite busy around here! Everything is going well. I know the dogs and the cats and got my work routine so all is great! Met a lot of other Pod volunteers here, of course and they are all very nice. I wanted to thank you for the good advices all the time!"

Joan - 2011

"What was your greatest achievement at the project? Being part of a team where everyone has a common interest has been a great achievement.

What advice would you give to people thinking about doing this project? Do it! It’s a great experience, even if only for a short amount of time. It’s well worth it!

How would you describe your overall experience at the project? It has been a really good and worthwhile experience. Being part of a team that really care about what they’re doing and give so much of their time and energy has been truly inspiring."

Massimo - 2011

"How’s it going at the centre? I’m happy replacing tv and facebook with time at the beach and lots of work. I’m really enjoying all aspects of it just can't believe I’ve been here for a month already!

What was your greatest achievement at the project? Helping a dog called Panda become better at walks and sitting down on command.

What advice would you give to people considering doing this project? Pay close attention to what everyone teaches you, always concentrate on your work and have fun.

How would you describe your overall experience at the project? I have really enjoyed the work and all the people are really cool."

Jessica - 2011

"What was your greatest achievement at the project? Learning to make Mojitos which we sold at the Lanta Laanta Festival to raise money for the centre. Also helping to rescue a litter of kittens that had been dumped in a bin bag at the end of our road, and the fact that all five have been re-homed is pretty cool. Helping to socialize three wild puppies that arrived at the centre has been great as well, watching their confidence increase over the past few weeks has been amazing. Oh and mastering the art of riding a moped (even if it’s just an automatic).

What advice would you give to people considering doing this project? Be prepared to get covered in dust, drool, mud and mosquito bites! But don’t worry its worth it!

How would you describe your overall experience at the project? It has been fantastic! I feel that I’ve learned a bit and helped to make a difference. I’m pleased I managed to find a placement where volunteers are actually needed."

Lee - 2011

"I really enjoyed my stay and my prior communication with my Pod Rep Erin. I have met some life long friends from doing this project and I will definitely be going back to visit the island and their people very soon."

Jon – 2010

"I had an amazing time at the centre and would recommend it to anyone. The work can be hard at times but it's incredibly fulfilling to improve the lives of so many cats and dogs on a daily basis. You also get to meet some wonderful like-minded people and have lots of fun when you're not working - Koh Lanta is a beautiful island with lots to see and some lovely beaches, plus there's always a party to be found somewhere in the evening. I liked it so much I decided to stay on permanently and got a job as the new manager - so come and join the team!

There's no such thing as a typical day, everyday is different and you never know what's going to happen or who's going to turn up next - that's what makes it so interesting and exciting!

What did you find most rewarding? When animals arrive at the centre either sick or injured or insecure, to see how they can so rapidly be brought back to full health and happiness is just incredible to witness.

What did you find most challenging? Sometimes when an animal is in such a bad condition that it's not going to survive or lead a decent life and it has to be put down, it can be emotionally challenging, especially if you have developed an attachment to them."

Hannah - 2010

“This was a brilliant placement, I learnt so much and felt that I really was a valuable member of a team. Everyone was so friendly and easy to get along with. The work that they do is so important and it does rely on Pod volunteers to continue. There were a few hard moments when seeing some quite upsetting cases, but I could move past it, knowing that I was there to help. It was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done and I'd like to go back right now!

Come in, not too early, for breakfast/coffee, then feed the dogs and any in patients, making sure to give medication. Then tidying the clinic, including sweeping the endless ammounts of leaves, doing washing, cleaning kennels etc. Around 11.30am, we would head out on our motorbikes for housecalls, treating stray animals on site as much as possible. This would take most of the day, and then head back to base, to feed the dogs and do a final tidy up before going home.

The Thai attitude to animals is very different from home and a lot of cases are quite preventable, and this frustrated me quite a bit. Things like a wound would be left for weeks until it was maggot infected and then they would report it, but if they had reported it straight away, it would have been a simple 3 day job, instead, these can take weeks!

This is not a placement for the squeemish, but it's great if you can get over that! Since you will be staying in one place, it's a great way to get travelling, if you've never done it before. I'd advice going travelling either before or after the placement - there is so much to see in this area of the world! If you are scared of motorbikes, make sure you take a CBT test (or have a go on a friends bike) before coming.”

Daniel - 2010

“The whole experience was amazing. From the help received from Jan upon booking to the support of Erng in Thailand. The best time of my life and am happy to tell everybody about how amazing Pod and the project are!

The best time of my life bar none! From booking the experience to returning home. All the information received from Pod before leaving was extremely helpful in preparing yourself for what lies ahead. I was very nervous upon leaving the UK for Thailand but I was invited on days out etc and introduced to people and within no time you are making life long friends. This was the best three months of my life and I cannot praise the people at Pod Jan and Erng for their true professionalism and dedication to what they do and do SO well. I want to go back and will definately volunteer with Pod again.

Typical day: Feeding the animals, helping treat the injured or sick animals and the best part "dog catching".

Just so rewarding. Best experience and different from everyday life. 'The biggest mistake you can make in life is to consistently be afraid you will make one'. Thank you.”

Melanie - 2010

“Seeing an animal in a really bad condition and being able to nurse it back to health is the most rewarding experience, especially with the skin conditions and bad wounds. When the dog or cat recognises you and runs to greet you when you see it healthy again definately makes this job worth it!

Volunteering is always rewarding but doing it abroad means you get to experience new places, cultures and meet a variety of new people.

I chose Pod because they had the project which interested me and had the lowest cost, because of their extremely friendly and helpful staff and I would most definately recommend them to others.

I would like to thank Pod for organising my placement, I had a fantastic time and can't wait to leave again on a new placement in the near future!"

Frances - 2009

“I wanted to thank yourself, Alex and Erng for the help you gave me before and during my time.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself during my stay, I met some amazing people, and had the opportunity to help the stray animals, which was very, very rewarding.  I feel my experiences have enhanced myself as a person, and made me appreciate the importance of organisations such as the centre.  Being associated with this project for 6 months made me aware of how invaluable the work they do is for the island.  The transformation of many of the sick animals treated was so satisfying to witness.”

“Everything is great.  Avril and Por are lovely people, and I am enjoying helping out at the clinic very much.  To be able to help animals is very important to me so this experience is wonderful!”

Kirsty - 2007

"I volunteered my help at the centre in Jan 07 for a couple of months and can honestly say it is one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences I have ever had. Having come from a solicitors in London I didn't have any experience in working with poorly animals but everybody at the clinic made me feel really welcome and I felt part of the team instantly.

The island is truly beautiful and the laid-back lifestyle highly addictive, but my most memorable high point by far was when one of the patients, a dog called Gem - who came in just after I started in such a sorry state, spread-eagled on the floor totally unable to walk at all - finally stood up on my final day at the clinic!! It was the best leaving present I could have hoped for and I felt so happy to have played a part in getting her strong again. I shall never ever forget the sight of her hobbling towards me on her shaky little legs, tail wagging!

If I ever got a few months off work again I would be back to the clinic in a flash to help out again - its hard work sometimes, hot and tiring but so rewarding to know the difference you're making to these animals' lives."

Find out more about the Dog and Cat Rescue project


  • Tourism Concern
  • Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust
  • Right Tourism
  • DOFE
  • theguardian
  • the independent
  • Sunday Times
  • Year Out Group
  • Best Volunteering Organisation
  • Wall Street Journal