Santisook Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation

Thank you for expressing interest in the Santisook Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation’s volunteer program. The application form found at the bottom of this page will provide us with the necessary personal information to  help us learn more about you and your motivations for volunteering. The information is collected for Santisook’s use in organizing your placement and will remain private and not be shared with any other entity.

Santisook staff will review your application and contact you regarding acceptance to our programs. Please give as much information so we can ensure that you are volunteering with the most suitable program and will have the best possible experience.

We appreciate your kind volunteer spirit and we will do our best to ensure that you have the most wonderful experience while volunteering with us here in Chiang Mai.

To apply for a placement as a Santisook volunteer, please:

1. Complete the online application form found at the bottom of this page.

2. Tell us if you are interested in our “Home Stay Program”

Or, feel free to email us with any questions and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Why should you volunteer with us? 

1. The dogs and cats of Northern Thailand need you. Santisook is one of the few organizations working to manage the overwhelming unwanted pet population in the Chiang Mai area. There are thousands of unwanted pets walking the streets, they suffer and die from accidents, trauma, and illnesses. We rescue the worst of the worst, and focus on sterilizing and vaccinating the rest.

2: We need you! We run on a very small operating budget with a limited staff. Our co-founder/director is scooping litter boxes everyday. Every single volunteer makes a difference with us. All chores that volunteers can take over, clears up time for our administrative staff to work on fundraising and organizing offsite sterilization clinics.

3. Meet new people who are as passionate about dog and cat welfare as you are. Volunteers leave us as lifelong friends, with the staff, and each other.

4. The Chaing Mai area is amazingly beautiful and the local Lanna culture is warm and welcoming. Volunteer accommodations are located onsite at our cat shelter half an hour outside of Chiang Mai city. Lots of scenic rice fields and a great view of nearby mountains. Our new dog shelter, now under construction, is nestled at the foot of the mountains in a fruit orchard, there will be accommodations here as well.

5. If you love cats and dogs, and are committed to working hard to save them, we will put you to work and you will make a difference!


Volunteer Program

We are excepting volunteer applications from veterinarians, vet nurses/techs, experienced shelter volunteers, vet students, and those who may not have experience, but are committed to working hard and learning to skills. We ask for a minimum commitment of one week, two being even better, but occasionally have short term 3 or 4 day stays as well. Contact us.

We operate one dog shelter, home to 340, and one cat shelter, home to 150.  In addition to the shelters, we assist in the care of dogs and cats living at local temples, operate field sterilization projects for feral and free roaming dogs and cats, and frequently rescue sick and injured animals off of the streets.

*Vets and nurses will volunteer under the supervision of Thai veterinary staff in in the shelters and on field sterilization programs. General medicine (mange, parvo, cat flu, blood parasite, poisoning, TVT), trauma (hit by car, bite wounds, severe beatings), and assisting and observing local vets with surgery (sterilization – pyometra, amputation) are all practiced.  Vets and nurses will be expected to pitch in with general cleaning as needed as well.

*Non veterinary volunteers work in the shelters, on rescues, and in the clinic. The shelters are cleaned and sanitized daily, food and water (and cat litter) are changed out, poo is picked up, and everything gets a good scrub, dogs need bathing, cats need socializing. Volunteers may be asked to go out of rescue missions, catching injured dogs and cats off of the streets, feeding dogs in the local temples, or helping on field sterilization projects, vet staff will teach you how to assist in pre and post operative care and how to assist in the clinic.

Volunteers are expected to undertake their duties with care and pride, everything you do if for the animals, they deserve the very best. The work can be physically draining, it is hot and you may be working up to 8 hrs a day. The work can also be emotionally draining. We rescue them when they are at their worst, and they do not always pull through.

Free Time and Days Off –

Volunteers may apply for one, two, or three day off a week (if you get sick or run down, no worries take the time that you need). When we are not busy with outside projects there are days when there is only a few hours work.

Public transportation to all of Chiang Mai’s attractions can be accessed via the town of Doi Saket. During your free time, volunteers can travel in the local area to visit the many temples, hot springs, botanical gardens, ethical elephant camps as well as many others activities.

Visa Requirements –

Visa requirements are changing all the time in modern Thailand and we check frequently with the Department Of Immigration to make sure we are following all rules. Volunteers staying with us for less than 30 days are fine to enter Thailand on a tourist visa. Volunteers who would like to stay with us for longer than 30 days, will still enter with a tourist visa and we will assist in helping you change that over to a non immigrant volunteer visa at the end of the 30 days.

*Santisook does not, and has never ‘sold’ volunteer visas. If you are someone who want to volunteer with us for the sole reason of staying in Thailand long term, do not bother to contact us, it is unethical and illegal, and you make it more difficult for real volunteers to obtain legitimate visas.

Fees and Costs –

Santisook has never charged a volunteer fee. We have, and may in the future, work in partnership with volunteer placement services who charge a fee for their services, but booking directly with us, there is no fee.

Volunteers are encouraged to bring supply donations from their home country, or make a donation,  100 -200 Thai baht per day (3$-6$ USD) is suggested, but this is not a requirement. These donations go directly into buying food, medicine, and surgical supplies for animals.

Veterinary students are encouraged to make an additional donation if they would like to work closely with out staff vet, and/or need to fulfill a university requirement.

Volunteers may seek their own accommodation for the duration of their stay, but there are very few options available nearby and we are unable to assist in booking. We ask that any volunteers staying in private accommodations keep the same schedule as those staying onsite.


Accommodations – Home Stay

Home Stay

Santisook’s cat shelter and home stay is located in Doi Saket, approximately 45 minutes from Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX). We are located in a quiet Moo Bann surrounded by rice fields with nearby temples and mountains.

There are two bedrooms available in the home of our founder/director, next door to the cat shelter. The house is modern and comfortable.  Our founder/director, Fon, and her husband enjoy opening their home to volunteers, more people to add to the family. The two volunteer rooms share a bathroom, with western style toilet and hot water. Fast internet, drinking water, washing machine, and use of the kitchen included. there are about 15 cats who call the place home as well, along with a rotating group of orphan kittens. So, rooms are available with cats for company, or not.

The cost of a room is 300 Thai baht per night. Two volunteers can share for the same price.

We are happy to assist you with purchasing food and all necessary items and will ensure you are well looked after at all times.

with purchasing food and all necessary items and will ensure you are well looked after at all times.

Please feel free to contact us to discuss any and all questions and or concerns you may have regarding our volunteer programs. We look forward to meeting you and working with you here in Chiang Mai.

If you are interested in volunteering at our shelter, please fill out the form below. The information you provide helps us ensure that we have accommodation and staff available so that your experience at Santisook can be as productive and memorable as possible.