The Dog and Cat Rescue project works to control the overpopulation of dogs and cats on the island and care for animals who have been injured and/or abused.
You will support the team by helping to walk the dogs, clean the shelters and feed the animals. You can assist the veterinary team with animal treatments and work alongside the centre to help promote animal welfare within the local community. Many people are aware of the problems of stray dogs and poor veterinary treatment of animals in Thailand, but few get to make a difference; this project provides you with this opportunity.
Explore the many beaches, mangroves and caves, learn to scuba dive or spend time in the beautiful national park in your free time.
Volunteers are needed to provide care and enable more animals to receive treatment.
Set on the stunning island of Koh Lanta, the Dog and Cat Rescue project aims to provide an exceptionally high level of care to the animals, whilst promoting awareness of the issues surrounding stray animals. In your first few days you will receive an introduction to your work. All the tasks will be explained in detail by staff and long term volunteers. There is a timetable in the main centre which runs through the daily tasks.
Each day will differ and volunteers’ tasks are based around the following shifts:
7am-1pm: taking dogs out into running areas, spending play time with animals, cleaning cages, cleaning up running and toilet area, cooking dog food, feeding dogs, giving medication & care when needed, filing animals’ nails, assisting the vet whenever needed, looking after animals in recovery cages before and after surgery.
1-7pm: cleaning cat houses and recovery cages, feeding cats and animals in recovery, giving medication and care when needed, washing animals towels, stock take of the store room, preparing sterilisation sets and sterilising, taking dogs out into running areas and for walks outside, tidying staff area, preparing gauzes, watering plants in running areas, cleaning the clinic for the following day, feeding cats and dogs.
Depending on the numbers of volunteers at the centre, it may be necessary for volunteers to do split shifts which is 7-10am and then 4-7pm. This is to cover the busiest times of the day.
Volunteers in charge of the quarantine that day do not have any contact with any other animals present at the kennel and clinic. Often the animals would spend most of the day in their cage and so this role consists of spending time with them as well cleaning, feeding and giving appropriate care.
1 day per week, 7pm–7am. Volunteers sleep at the centre so that you can be on hand in case of an emergency.
The centre is open to the public 5 days a week. Volunteers take visitors on a tour of the centre, providing them with an explanation of the situation on the island and the aims of the centre. Many visitors choose to donate to centre or even adopt one of the dogs or cats!
Volunteers who join the placement for 2-4 weeks may be asked to focus on either the cat house or the dog kennels, depending on the current requirements of the project.
Volunteers work 6 days per week for an average of 6 hours per day. There is also 1 night shift per week at the centre. Volunteers live on site, a short walk away from the animals. On your day off there are a variety of free time activities for you to get involved in.
There are usually 6-10 volunteers with a maximum of 18, but this varies considerably throughout the year.
This placement has been approved by the DofE as meeting the requirements for the Residential section of the Gold Award.
Read about volunteer experiences and challenges in our Thailand Dog and Cat Rescue reviews.
With over 30 dogs and 70 cats at the centre, there is always plenty of work that local team needs help with. The support from volunteers allows the centre to provide an exceptionally high level of care and extend their reach to more animals. By volunteering at the rescue centre, you will make a major contribution to the welfare of the animals on the island.
Since the project was established in 2005 they have sterilised and treated over 8,000 animals, substantially reducing the stray population on the island. Many people are aware of the problems of stray dogs and poor veterinary treatment of animals in Thailand, but few get to make a difference; this project provides you with this opportunity.
“Volunteers help with the day to day running of the project; we literally couldn’t do it without them. Volunteers bring a lot of love and time to our animals and the fact that they are committed animals lovers willing to give time to this project is fantastic for the dogs and cats in our care.”
Tanya, Placement Manager
Thailand is often referred to as the ‘land of smiles’ and is a huge attraction for travellers from around the world due to its glorious beaches, tropical climate, great food and fascinating culture. Thailand has something to offer everyone and popular activities include:
To find out more, see the Lonely Planet Thailand
Koh Lanta is popular tourist destination, the island is known for long, sandy beaches and scuba diving. There are actually two main islands, the larger, more populated Koh Lanta Yai (commonly known as simply Koh Lanta) and the smaller Koh Lanta Noi, as well as several minor islands. The geography of the island is made up of mangroves, coral rimmed beaches and rugged tree covered hills, and there are 9 sandy beaches to enjoy!
Koh Lanta has a natural and laid back feel to it. In your free time after work you can relax and enjoy the island. There is a lot to do on your day off, including exploring the many beaches, scuba diving, spending time in the national park, visiting a historic Chinese fishing village and enjoying the stunning mangroves and caves! These activities are best booked locally once you are at the project.
Koh Lanta is a cultural mix of Buddhists, Thai-Chinese, Muslims and even sea gypsies. The majority of the population in the rural areas are Muslim. The area however, does not suffer from any religious tension and the people live in peace and harmony. With this kind of mixture, Koh Lanta is always celebrating something, whether it’s part of Thai Buddhist, Thai-Chinese or Thai-Islamic tradition.
Volunteers share a room at the centre with one other volunteer and bathroom facilities are shared. There are communal areas to relax, eat and socialise in and WIFI.
“I spent three months volunteering at the Cat and Dog Rescue project 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.
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.”
“I was able to see this first hand that the work the centre do 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. It was very rewarding to know that by cleaning the animal’s cages, feeding them or even just offering some company/cuddles, I was able to help even in the smallest way possible.”
“I had an amazing time, the centre is great, very well managed. I had very good contact with animals, people from the centre as well as the tourists visiting. As your accommodation is in the centre you are really a part of the everyday life of the shelter this means that you can spend all the time you want with the cats and dogs. I really recommend any animals lovers to go volunteer there!
A typical day was spent feeding the animals, cleaning the cages, walking the dogs and doing tours for tourists explaining the goal of the shelter and how it works. Helping when injured animals arrive to the shelter and watch them getting better day after day is the most rewarding part of the volunteering role. This project gives you the opportunity to meet fantastic people from different countries that like animals and nature like you and you really feel helpful to a nice project.”
“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 rescue centre, 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.
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 centre after they have fully recovered makes the whole experience worth it. Volunteering abroad is a rewarding experience and just a little care and attention can mean so much to an animal, who has never experienced it before.”
Not included: Flights, travel insurance, visa (if required), evening meal, cost of pick up and transfers. Budgeting guidance is provided in our Volunteering Guide which we will email you when you apply.
animals have received treatment from the team
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"The project was all I thought it would be and more. The Island itself was amazing and the social life is great - as long as you are not scared of hard work you will have a fantastic time!"Read more volunteer reviews
"The work is hard 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 attitudes to animals on the island."Read more volunteer reviews
"My time here was a dream. You are located by a breath-taking beach and the centre full of good-hearted people and dogs and cats that have been mistreated - who treat you like you have been the best friend in their lives!"Read more volunteer reviews