Three weeks surrounded by dogs in a modern pad in the middle of the jungle, what not to like?
Animal voice is an interesting Non Profit Organisation on Koh Chang, Thailand which we found on the workaway app. It’s an association of animal welfare activists and veterinarians who made their goal to help animals in this island so take care of animals that do not survive on the street (old dogs, with diseases, blind, paralyzed, etc).
The reviews were great with extremely positive feedback, so we decided to get in touch and set off on this new adventure.
The work was split into a shift in the morning and one in the afternoon, we would agree with other volunteers which one to take on which day. Our main daily tasks were feeding the dogs, administering medication, walking them and giving them showers.
There are around 20 dogs in the shelter so at first we did not think it would be possible to remember all of the names but after feeding them a few times we quickly started to get the hang of it!
This is Grace, she is paralysed in the two back legs. She is an interesting dog because she could have a tendency to bite people but at the same time she is extremely sweet and requires a lot of attention so we had to be careful and learn how to work with her.
When we arrived we were a bit unsure about how to touch her or cuddle her but after a few days she started to get to know us better and be comfortable with us around. During the day she was allowed out to play with the other dogs but at night we would put her in her own area to avoid any fighting at night time.
One day a dog arrived in an emergency, she had a large wound in the middle of her body. After being stitched up fortunetly everything was okay. She was given the name Ivy.
It turned out that Ivy and some other dogs had attacked a Deer which resulted in Ivy being seriously injured, the deer fled into the ocean and unfortunately drowned.
The organisation has a room called quarantine for those dogs that arrive and and are not vaccinated as well as those that are operated on and need to recover.
When Ivy arrived in quarantine she was very scared and she would cry a lot, especially when left alone. The first time we met her she was a little unsure whether to accept the food we were giving her but eventually our persistence paid off. It was a very sweet moment. She spent about three weeks at the Help Point and just before we were leaving she returned to her owner.
Near the end of our stay Agnieszka came to us with some “bad news”, we were going to be taking in 5 puppies that had been found in the Jungle. At first we did not know why puppies are bad news, it turns out they are a lot of work!
The puppies arrived late in the evening and they were so tiny. We fed them with some warm milk and covered them with a blanket.
Unfortunately two puppies didn’t seem very active at all in fact during the night two of the volunteers found a puppy dead and let us know that another was not looking well. The next morning we expected the worst and in fact we found another puppy dead. It was very sad for us but there wasn’t much we could do to save them.
The reality of working in an animal shelter it is a hospital for sick dogs and puppies dying is an unfortunate part of the experience. However, the other three were very active and healthy. If the shelter had not taken them in, they may also have not survived and that was a very special and memorable feeling.
We loved this experience and would have stayed even longer had it not have been fully booked. At the end we were pretty sad to say goodbye to the dogs. Maybe we will back one day, but for now we will keep with us this experience very happy with the fact that there are organisations in the world like this one that do so much to help animals in need.