My boyfriend and I spent 10 days volunteering at Headrock Dogs and my only regret is that I wish we had stayed longer. Verity and Thep, as well as their two long-term volunteers Franz and Francesca are all wonderfully welcoming people, and they all are very passionate about the work that they do at Headrock Dogs. The love they all possess for these dogs is visible in their day to day work. It has been so inspiring to interact with these 4 incredibly motivated and selfless people.
The high level of care that each of the 50+ dogs at the shelter receives is incredible. Each dog has special natural medications, meals and treatments that are customized to suit their specific needs. It is evident that these dogs are extremely well-cared for.
Verity and Thep are amazing. They are so dedicated to the dogs, and not just the ones that they have in the shelter and at the temple, but they also care deeply about the ones they see on the streets or on the beach. At any point if they ever saw a dog in need they would help it and bring it in, regardless of the number of dogs they already had. It didn’t matter how many sick or injured dogs they already had in their care, they never had too many and they could always take in more. To me that is incredible. They are so selfless and inspiring. They have so much passion for what they do and they devote all their energy into the dogs and making sure they all have a good quality of life.
Our tasks at Headrock Dogs varied immensely
We spent a large quantity of the time getting to know the dogs. Giving them affection, love, and attention in order to help keep them experienced with new people / being around new people
Certain dogs needed their eyes to be rinsed out daily, and then either have a cream put in, or eye drops. This was done for some of the dogs that were blind, and some that had previously had eye infections in order to prevent them from happening again.
Quite a few of the dogs suffered from mange, and they received natural skin treatments every day, or every second day. The skin treatment was a mixture of green tea, sulphur and other homemade remedies to help soothe and heal.
Some of the dogs that were sick needed medications every day, and other dogs that were old, or were getting over an illness were given vitamins and supplements such as calcium or fish oil every day.
We spent any of our free time cleaning the facilities. We helped sweep out the enclosures, poop scoop the yard, hose out and scrub the dog beds and rake the palm leaves. Regardless of how small the task I performed was, Verity and Thep made sure to show how appreciative they were of my help.
Gloria was one of my favourites. We grew very close because each morning I brushed her teeth to help prevent them from rotting. We spent a lot of time together and I was very heartbroken when I heard that she had passed away.
Each of the dogs has their own heartbreaking story, and for most it’s a miracle they are still alive today! But that is all thanks to the incredible work that Verity and Thep do.
Fear turned to kisses
It was amazing to see how the dogs opinions towards us changed over the days. On the day we arrived there were a few dogs that wouldn’t come near us but instead would bark and growl from a distance. By the time we left, these dogs that were once fearful were some of the first dogs to greet us with kisses in the morning.
At the end of our stay, Verity asked us if we would accompany two dogs as they travelled to their new homes in Bangkok. Of course we offered to help! We drove for 6 hours with the two dogs, keeping them calm and comfortable during the journey. It was so wonderful to see the two dogs be adopted into loving and welcoming families. That moment we got to experience what Verity and Thep put all their hard work in order the achieve. The moment when dogs find a forever home and get to have their happily ever after.
This was truly an experience of a life time for me, as I am a dog-lover at best. Getting to know all these beautiful dogs, and helping to make a difference in their quality of life is a rewarding feeling that cannot be achieved anywhere else. I would 110% recommend anyone to volunteer their time here!
Hopefully one day I will be back!