If you are interested in volunteering with us, the first thing to do is to decide what type of volunteering you would like to do!
- Vet and Vet Nurse Volunteers – We are always in need of people with veterinary skills, both for specific projects such as spay camps in local communities as well as for day-to-day treatments in our clinic. If you looking for a unique experience with interesting veterinary cases and challenges, please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Sanctuary Volunteers – There always work to be done at the sanctuary, from walking dogs, grooming, cleaning, DIY jobs, fundraising, raising awareness – and so much more! Please see below for more information on volunteering in Thailand or from home.
- Flight Volunteers – To become a flight volunteer, you don’t need to do anything other than accompany an animal on their journey to their forever home! If you are travelling from Thailand in the near future and interested in getting more details about upcoming adoptions/journeys, please contact us at email@example.com.
- Read some of our Volunteer Testimonials HERE!
Volunteer In Thailand
General Info for Volunteers
Our goal at the Thai Animal Sanctuary Volunteer Program is to ensure that all our volunteers have a fun time, as well as a fulfilling learning experience. Animal care and welfare is our passion, and we welcome anyone who already has an interest in this area or would like to learn more. We do not require specific skills from our volunteers, only that they be eager to learn, flexible, happy to work in a small team and of course willing to get dirty once in a while!
All volunteers at Thai Animal Sanctuary are expected to assist with looking after all the sanctuary residents. Daily tasks include dog walking, cleaning cages, socialising with the animals, cleaning bedding and helping in the clinic when required. In addition to these general tasks there are always plenty of other projects such as sanctuary repairs, maintenance, painting and lots of cleaning tasks! Not all tasks are glamorous and some can be hard work, but everything you do makes a difference and will help improve the lives of our resident animals as well as our inpatients. Remember, we would not be able to keep the sanctuary running and help the animals of Sangkhlaburi without people like you!
We provide a highly detailed handbook to all prospective volunteers, with information about travelling, local culture, health & safety issues as well as the work you will be doing. To ensure safety, every volunteer is required to read this handbook and sign the disclaimer BEFORE arriving at the sanctuary.
Volunteers work on a weekly roster with 1 day off per week. We appreciate your time and hard work and will try to accommodate requests for additional time off where we can.
Morning Shift: 08:00am - 12:00pm
Afternoon Shift: 14:00pm - 17:00pm
Volunteers are expected to be flexible, as the hours may vary depending on how many volunteers are in the sanctuary and what happens during the day.
We have a Volunteer House just around the corner from the sanctuary, which currently holds up to 12 people. Rooms cost 150 thai baht per night, with both shared and private rooms depending on availability. Beds, bedding, fans and mosquito nets are provided, and we have a fully functioning outdoor kitchen which is available for all volunteers. All volunteers will receive a full list of items they need to bring with them once they have applied and been accepted.
Alternative accommodation is also available in town for reasonable prices, for those who prefer a bit more privacy or air conditioning (although we always recommend staying in the Volunteer House to get the full experience!). For more information on other accommodation, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Vegan lunch is available to all of our volunteers, at the Baan Unrak School which is next door to the sanctuary. Meals are provided Monday to Friday during the school term.
For those who stay at the Volunteer House, many choose to us our communal kitchen to cook their own meals, and there is cheap food and fresh ingredients available at the local restaurants and markets just up the road.
Although Sangkhlaburi is in quite an isolated area, internet connection is remarkably good here. We have free wifi both at the clinic as well as at the Volunteer House, and most bars and restaurants in town have free available as well if you ask the staff.
Volunteer from Home
For those of you who would like to help support us but are unable to travel to Thailand, there are several ways you can help out from home!
- Volunteer Veterinary Consultants – while we are always looking for vets to come and volunteer in the clinic itself, we are also in need of support from senior vets during the times when our resident vet is absent or a newly qualified resident vet is seeking advice on a specific or unusual case. Becoming a consultant vet and advising us via e-mail on ways to treat animals in these circumstances is an invaluable resource to us.
- Collecting donated items – you can contact your local vet, pet store, or anywhere else you can think of to gather donations. There are often items that we need which are not available locally. Click here see our updated Wish List.
- Fundraising – fundraising is one of the most important ways you can help the sanctuary from wherever you are. Wether you host a fundraising event, participate in sports events to raise money or simply raise awareness about the sanctuary to attract new donors, these are all great ways to support our work from afar.
- Volunteer Translators – we often need information translating from English into Thai and Burmese, and vice-versa. If you are fluent in any of these languages, we would love to hear from you!
- Spreading Awareness - why not help out by simply spreading the word about Thai Animal Sanctuary, wether it be to friends, family or colleagues. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to get all the latest news from the sanctuary, and visit our Donation page to donate.
If you are interested in helping out in any of these ways, we would love to hear from you!
Please contact us directly at email@example.com or fill in the volunteer application form below
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It can be hard to describe what it's like to do the work we do and all the emotions involved, and often our volunteers are much better at putting this into words than we are! Read below and find out what some of our recent volunteers have to say about their experience volunteering with us, in their own words:
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"I've been having a hard time articulating my experience at Baan Unrak Thai Animal Sanctuary, but you know you it must have been a special one when two weeks turns into a month and your heart physically hurts when it's time to leave. The roller coaster of emotions was the wildest I've experienced in a while. It was the kind of place that made me declare that I hate people and love people in the same breath. Hate; because of the neglect and abuse some humans wreak upon innocent animals. Love; because of the unfailing compassion and patience the people here show on the daily.
One moment I am happily using simple nursing skills on dogs and cats and doing anaesthesia monitoring during surgery with our amazing vet. The next, I am standing at the head of the OR table pushing adrenaline and desperately trying to breath life back into one of our beloved resident dogs whose heart is suddenly failing him during a simple castration.
A liesurely walk turns into a vicious dog fight with blood-spattered fur, the most horrific thing I have seen yet in person. And then eventually all is well again, and you go and sit in a hut with 5 beautiful dogs with devastating pasts, yet they wag their tails and lean against you, licking your face and placing their paw on your arm, vying for affection.
Sick and injured pets brought in months too late for us to save, matted and riddled with thousands of ticks and maggots that volunteers pick away at, all the while knowing this animal's chances of surviving are slim to none.
Then you see the miracles and resilience amongst all of this. A dog who is thriving with three legs after being hit by a car, another who has recovered and is full of life despite having been attacked with a machete. The toothy smiles and eyes sparkling with love and loyalty and a hint of mischief from dogs who have been nursed back to health from their very deathbed, who have no reason to trust humans ever again. They accept the love that is now given to them and return it unconditionally.
Thank you Denise and Song for allowing me into your world; your passion and dedication to this place is relentless. I've been inspired and humbled by the selflessness of the volunteers I worked with, and the smiles and laughter were worth every tear shed. Regardless of the never-ending challenges, frustrations and lack of resources, love always prevails here, and that is simply the bottom line.">
Lisa Michelle, May 2017
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"As I sit on a bus that takes me away from beautiful Sanghklaburi, I struggle to feel any single emotion at once. As always with travel, it feels as though I was just arriving and seeing everything for the first time. Now here I am leaving, and there are so many thoughts and feelings swirling around my head and heart, it seems impossible to focus on just one. Sanghkla is a place that has impacted me forever in a fundamental way that only really happens a few times in your life.
Staying here for a month has taken me on a journey that I never could have anticipated, as my heart has never felt so warm, wrenched, full, or gutted in my life. There were days where I have never felt my spirit so broken, and almost in the same breath had something or someone come along that completely restored it.
From the indescribable beauty of the jungle and mountains, to the shattering poverty beside it; from the unbearable cruelty towards animals, to the commitment and unwavering love towards a beloved family pet. Sanghkla so often seemed to send me spinning.
I now more than ever truly understand just how imperative the Thai Animal Sanctuary is for both humans and animals in Sanghklaburi. Without the unfailing dedication of the volunteers and workers there would be no sanctuary. Without volunteers who spend days, weeks, or months on their own dime, there would be no one to hold the poisoned kitten for it's last few breaths. There would be no one to patiently teach a dog scalded by burning oil to trust or love again. Without the highly educated vets who work for minimal wages, there would be no one to perform emergency surgery on a cat who has brutally had it's leg chopped off, or to humanely help end the suffering of a dog hit by a car who is beyond repair. Without a manager who spends more of her life and money on work than she does living for herself, there would be no one to organize every last detail of the way the entire sanctuary operates, or support and love every volunteer, worker and animal who walks through those gates. Without an incredible local Thai worker, there would be no one to dig what sometimes seems to feel like endless graves and translate the devastating news to a family that their pet they brought to us with the highest hopes, is not going to survive. There would be no one who knew and understood every single dog in their care, and command respect and order from them in a way that is beyond words.
Every single person who walks into that sanctuary gives a part of themselves, that is sometimes at great cost. Yet most do it again and again with an open heart, that they know any moment can be broken. One of the only things that keeps us going, is the community we have built with each other and some of the locals who see how hard we work. The locals who show up with an empty truck, a smile, and off-roading trip to the lake with an ice cold beer. The locals who open their home to volunteers and workers, to celebrate a birthday, or a goodbye party; or who are simply just there to talk. It's things like that, and being around such dedicated and compassionate volunteers and workers, that bring you back from the brink of a devastating day. It's seeing an animal that against all odds has survived the night, and fought to live. It's seeing an animal wag it's tail or purr when it sees you, even though humanity has failed them, and they have no reason to trust or love again.
All of these things are what left me feeling speechless, until I sat down to try and write this down.
I have left a huge part of my heart and soul behind in Sanghkla and at the sanctuary, but in place for that piece I have brought with me a depth of emotion which I never knew I had. I have brought friendships that will last a lifetime, and memories that are as permanent as the beautiful tattoos I put on my body while I was there. As much of a roller coaster as I have been through, I can't express enough what an incredible and worthwhile experience and place it is. Sometimes to truly know love you have to truly feel pain. And every single tear I cried, and frustration I felt, was nothing compared to the person I have become from my experience, and the love I have witnessed and been a part of.
Sanghkla and Baan Unrak I will miss you deeply, but I will be back to cry, laugh, love, and work harder than I ever have, all over again. Thank you for everything you have shown and given to me, you are so beautiful.
With all the love from the deepest part of my heart, Kelsey"
Kelsey Kanhoffen, May 2017
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