Volunteering in Phuket
Finding a volunteer project
Before leaving to travel, we made the decision that we would volunteer sporadically for a different experience and to save money. We settled with making an account with Workaway; a website that offers thousands of volunteering opportunities across the globe at a small yearly fee.
So finally, after messaging a number of different Workaway hosts, we had a quick response from Simone, a lady who feeds up to 50 cats and dogs at a local temple in Rawai, Phuket, who was looking for help (2-3 hours a day) in return for a room and free breakfast. So we agreed a date!
Every day for several years, Simone has taken it upon herself to spend at least 2/3 hours a day feeding stray cats and dogs around Wat Sawang Arom. When required to, she’ll even care for them at her house if they require emergency help or just can’t survive as a stray any longer.
For example, Simone was adamant that she would have to take in Terry, a dog gradually losing his eyesight.
Simone’s work with the animals has become well-known around the town so she often receives calls and messages about ill or abandoned strays. In response, Simone will visit and judge the situation, if the situation is beyond her capabilities, she’ll contact Soi Dog Foundation who can provide the right assistance.
During the day Simone teaches English online which requires flexibility and sometimes late hours when usually she’d be feeding, so the help of volunteers really does make her life a lot easier.
The role consisted of:
- Assisting with the food preparation – defrosting rice and chicken, preparing chicken stock, grinding the medication for specific cats and dogs and putting them into labelled containers.
- Feeding the animals and giving them lots of attention.
- Assisting during visits from the Soi Dog Foundation.
- The Soi Dog Foundation is an incredible charitable organisation that help homeless, neglected and abused cats and dogs. If you’re a huge animal lover have a look at that website, www.soidog.org/
- Helpful jobs around the house, e.g. cooking, cleaning or walking her dog, Kal.
These jobs really didn’t take up much time and because the feeding was at night, we had a hell of a lot of free time which is perfect as Phuket’s so big. We made several trips to secluded beaches and waterfalls and couldn’t resist the cinema.
A volunteering project that gives you the freedom to explore during the day and play with animals in the evening.
This was the perfect job for us and although we loved every minute of it, there were times when our hearts broke a little.
- Terry whose eyesight was so poor, he would stumble into tables and chairs.
- Bella, who insisted on barking at every motorbike that passed and as a result was hit and suffered a cracked jaw during our time volunteering.
- A mother of 5 kittens who lost 2 because of health complications.
- A kitten with severe eye problems was abandoned at the temple.
- Shadowfax, our favourite, was severely ill and refused to eat any food which also included his medication. Before we left Simone told us that Shadowfax would begin to receive more effective medication, however, a few weeks after we moved on, we heard the news that Shadowfax passed away due to his health complications.
After a day or 2 of the animals sussing us out, we were able to create bonds with all the cats and dogs. There was a point when we’d have some serious talks of who we’d like to adopt!
So if you’re heading to Phuket for Thai Island fun but also want your cat and dog fix, get in contact with Simone; whether it’s for a week or just a day, the help is appreciated and you’ll be amazed at how lovable they all are.
For more information, visit the Rawai Animal Lovers Facebook group and if you want to contact Simone this is her group so just drop a message.
Check out some more photos of our time spent volunteering here!