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Thai Island Dog & Cat Shelter

Koh Lanta Yai, Thailand

Thai Island Dog & Cat Shelter
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Island Shelter for Dogs and Cats

Project Information

Volunteer Type Volunteer

Cost of Project From $640 AUD

Duration 4 weeks - 12 weeks

Start Dates Monday - Sunday, all year

Work Roster 6 days a week, 6 hours a day

Age Requirement 20 years of age


This project was started in 2005 when it became apparent that dog and cat populations were spiralling out of control and cruelty to these animals was prevalent.

One factor was that after the Tsunami during the Thai construction boom, construction workers came to the island with their dogs but left them behind when the buildings were completed. The number of tourists visiting the island and feeding these dogs increased which resulted in their high survival and reproduction rates causing over population.

The centre’s primary objectives are to control the population of stray animals on Koh Lanta Yai in a humane way through sterilization programs and to provide medical attention to sick and injured animals.

The centre also aims to promote awareness and educate the local community on the importance of animal care and respect to local dog and cat populations.  This assists in helping to reduce the local issues of abuse and over population.

BONUS: Book 4 weeks, stay a month, book 8 weeks, stay 2 months, book 12 weeks, stay 3 months.


  • Your Contribution

Due to a lack of funding and support, the centre relies heavily on donations and the work of volunteers to keep it operational.

You will help care for and enrich the lives of the homeless animals at the centre while educating the local community about the importance of the humane treatment of animals.

You will make a positive difference to the lives of dogs and cats, work with a dedicated and enthusiastic team and be given the opportunity to converse with the local people on this important issue.

  • A Typical Day

You will be involved in the daily routine of the resident cats and dogs (and occasional wildlife) at the centre. This includes exercising the dogs in the running areas and taking them for walks, socialising and playing with the animals, feeding and watering the animals, giving medication and care, treating the ill or recovering animals, providing vet assistance during treatments, cleaning cages, enclosures and recovery cages, washing towels and linen, engaging in fundraising activities, ensuring the centre is clean and tidy and promoting the centre and its objectives to the local community.

You will spend time rounding up stray animals that would otherwise be at risk and bringing them to the centre for spaying/neutering or medical treatment.

The dogs require a lot of exercise so you may spend time at the beach with them running and playing.

Some dogs need help to trust people again.

The centre functions primarily as a sterilization clinic and most days are organized with this as a priority. However, because it is the only animal medical response facility on the island, demand for medical attention comes in, sometimes in high numbers, and we ask that our volunteers be flexible and prepared to respond to these kinds of scenarios. This might mean overtime hours and on-call availability.

  • Skills Required

No specific skills are required other than a love for cats and dogs, a genuine and enthusiastic need to help them and a hard working ethic.

You will need to be in good physical condition due to the nature of the work undertaken in a hot and humid environment.

You should be patient, caring, willing to accept new ideas and be prepared to be challenged by alternative cultural views on the treatment of animals.

  • Challenges

The staff will do their best to inform you on what's going on and what is expected of you; however there will be times when you must act independently and use your own initiative as there can sometimes be a lack of resources at the centre.

It can be very emotional work treating and caring for sick and abused animals so you should try to be prepared for this. Be rest assured that you are amongst like-minded people who are experiencing the same feelings and emotions as you and will be there to support you.

The work can be physically demanding as you are on your feet for most of the time and depending upon the time of year, it can be hot and humid.

Things may be organised differently from back home and things might not always make sense. You should be open-minded, patient, willing to accept new things and be prepared to get stuck in.

  • Accommodation

Volunteers stay in male or female dorms with two bunk beds per room, some with ensuite bathrooms.

  • Meals

Meals are not included, however it is very cheap to eat out and the centre is located within 20 minutes walking distance of several restaurants, convenience stores and several locally run family restaurants. Volunteers are responsible for buying their own food and drinks and can easily self-cater as there is a fridge and cooking facilities. Drinking water is provided, as is tea, coffee and sugar.

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