Volunteer with us
An experience to remember
Want to leave the beaten track and have a very different travelling experience in Thailand. If so come volunteer at Headrock Dog Rescue where the dogs are free to roam.
Bang Saphan is a well hidden secret at the southern most tip of Prachuabkirikahn Province. Located at the beginning of Southern Thailand and north of Chumphon we are a 6 hour train journey south from Bangkok.
We’re a husband and wife management team with three full time Thai team members and some long-term volunteers. We work relentlessly 24/7 to improve the lives of the Bang Saphan dogs. We are always grateful for dog loving volunteers who are willing to dedicate their time to helping our precious dogs.
We accept and need volunteers all year round and we don’t charge you. If you have any special skills like animal veterinary or physiotherapy then we would especially love to welcome you, all volunteer work is hands on and your skills will be immediately put to good use.
No less than 10 days
Sadly we cannot accept volunteers for less than 10 days. This is because we invest a lot of time in teaching our volunteers. There is a lot of hands on work with the dogs and they must feel confident with new volunteers.
We will spend time showing you the ropes and teaching you the routine at the healing centre and these things can’t be achieved in less than 10 days.
Besides you wouldn't want to leave before you have gotten to know all our beautiful dogs, would you?
How to get to us
Bang Saphan is at the beginning of the South of Thailand. From the north or the south the best form of transport is by train. You can book a ticket at the Central train station in Bangkok called Hua Lomphong. The sprinter leaves about 9.00 a.m. and arrives in Bang Saphan Yai at about 2.30pm, there are many other times to choose from including sleeping trains. Thai trains rarely run on schedule so bare this in mind! Find train times online. We recommend planning a daytime arrival as transportation late at night can be challenging.
If you want to come by bus the journey is quite arduous and not advisable. The Southern bus terminal is far out of central Bangkok and taxis can be expensive. The arrival time in Bang Saphan is often very late and the bus does not take you into the town which is about 15kms from the dropping off point. There may be motorbike taxis still around but this is not ideal if you have heavy luggage, and you may have difficulty finding a place to stay for the night.
Where to stay
We can book cheap but very clean beach bungalows for our volunteers at Lola Bungalows. They are on the beach, have Wifi, and cost about 400 baht a night, with the option to pay extra for AC. They may be more expensive in the high season, but we will usually get a discount for our volunteers. They are very close to a few beach bars and restaurants with a small shop a 10 minute walk up the road.
The bungalows are located about a 30 minute walk along the beach or a short motorbike journey to the healing centre. We recommend renting a motorbike as there are few taxis in the area and walking back in the midday heat after a morning volunteering can be challenging. You can rent motorbikes at the bungalows or otherwise you can negotiate a motorbike taxi with the owners.
The main town is another 5 minute drive on from the healing centre.
What to wear
We ask volunteers to wear suitable dog proof clothes which will protect you against scratches when they jump up for a cuddle.
No skimpy shorts and tops please… that attire is for the beach. Strong shoes and in the rainy season you will need a pair of boots. These can be bought in the local market.
A must is a hat to protect you from the sun. Please keep your nails shortish so you don’t scratch the dogs and only essential jewellery.
What to expect
We ask you to arrive between 9.00 – 9.30 a.m. and we finish about 1.00 – 1.30 p.m. You will hear the dogs before you arrive at the small entrance to the centre. There you will see a large group wagging their tails waiting for you. Don’t be nervous they will bark at first but that will soon turn to wanting to sniff you and make friends. Walk in and sit down on the nearest doggy bed and they will come and jump up on the bed beside you.
The shy dogs will take a little longer to feel confident enough to come up to you which is normal so please take it slowly with them. During the first day we ask you to take time to get to know the dogs and them you. You will be doing a lot of ‘hands on’ work with them so bonding is very important. This is great because you get to cuddle the dogs all day!
YOUNG / SOLO VOLUNTEERS PLEASE NOTE
Bang Saphan is a beautiful paradise but it is not a tourist town and is extremely quiet with mostly retiree expats. We strongly recommend younger volunteers come with a friend for company and we ask you to consider this when committing to volunteer for the minimum of 10 days.
Please read the thoughts of past volunteers below to hear about their experiences.
What you will do
The first job we’ll ask you to do is eye cleaning for the dogs who need it. Then you’ll progress to help treat the dogs with bad skin conditions. Brushing and shampooing will also be a major activity.
We give a lot of dogs vitamins in rice with fish. This task is quite time consuming so once you feel confident with the dogs we’ll ask you to help. Monthly de-tick treatment and de-worming are very important tasks which you may also be asked to help with.
There will be lots of cleaning to do each day. The dogs’ beds and bowls need washing out regularly and if we have puppies their pens need cleaning daily. When we don’t have puppies, we will clean them once a week in preparation for new comers. And of course lots of cuddling and socialising with the dogs.