We first stumbled across Headrock Dogs in an online blog. The description of the daily walk along beautiful Suan Luang beach to get to the Healing Centre from the recommended accommodation drew us in. The following sealed the experience for us and has made us want to return: the morning tasks at the Centre - varied, hands-on, educational, and highly rewarding; the dogs' strength, resilience, and for the most part, amazing capacity to trust in humans; and lastly, the team at the Centre, skillfully led by Thep and Verity, whose compassion and love for all dogs is the beating heart of this grassroots organisation. We would not hesitate to recommend Headrock Dogs to any person who has a passion for our canine friends - a simple train journey south from Bangkok, and you are in paradise, doing your small bit to help “Save Thailand’s Forgotten Dogs”.
We started our volunteer duties first thing Monday morning with an awful 30-minute commute. See the image above - terrible stuff! We joined the team at Headrock Dogs Rescue, at their Healing Centre. We were welcomed by wife and husband team Verity and Thep, who have been working tirelessly for these dogs for decades. Under the watchful eye of long-term vollies Franz and Franziska and local staff member Jip, our first day comprised slow introductions to the 40-odd dogs in various phases of their recovery. Some are immediately friendly and chasing cuddles while others run for the hills. Panee, for instance, insists on a daily public service announcement, to warn everyone of the incoming “farang” (foreigners).
Once into the groove however, we're able to contribute to the daily list of tasks: cleaning water and food bowls, bathing, feeding, brushing, assisting with wound dressings and the all-important ever-present "shit tour". Email us for a photo but rest assured there's a lotta poop to scoop. And we forgot to mention, a main duty is to pat as many dogs as we can get our paws on. Human contact is an important step in their recovery and increases their chances of adoption. Big thanks to Boo, Lin and Paik, the rest of the team at the Healing Centre, who made the experience so worthwhile. Dogservations An obvious difference between this place and our doggy shelter in Perth is that the dogs here are "free range". They maintain their own hierarchy with very regular growling and squabbling but not too much actual fighting. Too hot and humid for that! It’s a fairly stable population with newcomers quarantined for a period of time to convalesce and adjust to the local politics. Many have been brought into the Healing Centre for rehabilitation after suffering terrible injuries from hit and run accidents - some are able to walk again, others (like Peanut [pictured above] and Somkit) make do with their front legs and whizz around with the aid of special wheels. Others, such as Panee, suffer from chronic skin problems and are treated daily with natural therapies.
The Centre is but one of the myriad of initiatives run by Headrock Dogs. Through their temple outreach and street dog programme (Saving Thailand's Forgotten Dogs), they are responsible for the health and well being of nearly 400 dogs! We were fortunate to see Verity and Thep in action at one of the local temples (Wat Khao Tham Ma Long). The dogs looked happy, healthy and were extremely friendly. The temple is well worth a visit if you ever find yourselves in this region - it boasts a network of breathtakingly beautiful caves.
The Pooches and Peoples of Headrock Dogs Healing Centre
Observations Ze Germans and ze French! BangSaphan is a very quiet getaway, attracting mostly European retirees who have been coming here regularly for decades. Our accommodation comes with a small library of mostly German tomes. Just quietly, one recently-read copy of The Tattooist of Auschwitz may have found its way on the shelf, in exchange for a "the pages turn themselves" copy of a James Patterson novel. Not a fair trade, but needs must.
If you came here to parteeeee, sorry - no full moon debauchery here. You may however have to endure your favourite Thai song being butchered on the Fri and Sat karaoke nights.
There is an unusual mix of Thai and Italian eateries dotted along the coast, each closing on a different day of the week. We are told that although this is the "high season" in BangSaphan, there's been a poor yield of visitors, so some of the local establishments have shut up shop to save running costs. Still, there's plenty of choice, whether you're keen on a green curry (bursting with all manner of exotic vegetable), fish/seafood (a menu staple here), or have a hankering for fettuccine alfredo. We are yet to try the local whisk(e)y, but the four brands of beer available always hit the spot!
Coconuts, I'm yet to see one fall but I've certainly heard them land, so as they say, look up to live!
Final thought: the fauna here is quite something. So far we've seen a scorpion in our bungalow (now safely out of sight, but not out of mind!); a coconut snake slithering across the street; a millipede hanging out by the water bowls; monkeys dropping coconuts from on high; a resident owl; plenty of kittens at our breakfast spot; and of course, many, many dogs (pictured).
Your support is essential to Saving Thailand Forgotten Dogs
Headrockdog rescue (charity number 1170663)
Thailand Bank Transfer V. J. Cattanach Poole for Headrock Dogs Kasikorn Bank Bang Saphan Branch Account No: 295 – 2 – 37247 – 8 SWIFT CODE: KASITHBK
UK Bank Transfer
Headrock Dogs Rescue UK
HSBC Account No: 42 1145 42
Sort Code: 40-44-04 IBAN: MIDLGB2112B
Our Paypal is paypal.me/Headrockdogrescue Thank you