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ENP Dogs, Chiang Mai, Thailand - ❤️

THAILAND | Tuesday, 25 July 2017 | Views [375]

So we finally got back on track with our travels and kicked off with a week at Elephant Nature Park Dogs. We also had the husbands sister with us this week as a birthday gift for her, so it was nice we all got to travel from the UK together.

 If you've read any of the blogs you may have seen a post about the park from the beginning of our adventure. That week was volunteering with the elephants. This week was volunteering with the dogs. All 500+ of them! 

They started us off with a little walk around the park where we got to interact with some of the elephants and see the work being done to rehabilitate some of them. (If you want to know more head back to 

-The Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai 

-Behind the scenes of the Elephant Tourist Trade.)

After our walk we were shown to the 'Dog House'. A house at the back of the dog runs that could accommodate 9 volunteers. We had 11 in our group so 2 were put in a cabin by the elephant volunteers accommodation. The house was basic, a ceiling fan, mosquito nets over beds and wooden shutters for windows, it was always hot! There were 2 showers and 2 toilets with sinks. The showers were temperamental at the best of times and you were sweating again the second you stepped out. 

Once we had picked a bed and dumped our kit we headed back to the clinic area, the main hub of activity for the volunteers. Here we met the staff and the 'long terms'. Long terms where volunteers who had been at the park for weeks, months, even years in some cases. We had the most incredible group of people to show us the ropes! Monica was in charge, assigning us with areas to work in and keeping the days running smoothly, this woman is a real life Wonder Woman!! Jess was her right hand, who knew so much about the dogs and the routines she could help you with anything. And then there was Chelsea and Freddie, these 2 were inseparable and great fun. They clearly loved working with the dogs, neither of them had planned to stay as long as they had but couldn't tear themselves away! 

We were all given areas to work in. We were divided between the clinic, the gallery, the office, the nursery and the pups. I was working in the office, it was a 1 man job with 3 lovely doggies, and the hubby was in the clinic area with his sister and 3 others.

The clinic is the hub of the dog sanctuary, it's where all new additions go to be checked and treated and where the poorly dogs go to be looked after. It's bonkers! It's always busy and there is loads to do, the days are full, and the jobs are constant. Start at 8, stop at 11:30 for lunch, back at 12:30-1:00 finish at 5. It sounds fine, but you are cleaning, walking, washing, feeding, chasing and generally on the go, in baking heat, all the time. And the long terms do this 7 days a week, every week, no breaks. 

But after saying how tough it is, I can also say it is one of the most rewarding things I have ever been a part of. Helping to care for any of these animals and being part of the team there when new rescues arrived was incredible. 


The hubby was asked to help get a dog from a villagers car to the clinic. The poor guy had been hit by a car and brought in. He was massive, but so scared. The hubby sat with him on the clinic floor keeping him calm and hand feeding him because he couldn't reach a bowl. He then had to carry him to the X-ray room and back again. Another dog was seen limping around the park, again hubby to the rescue, he managed to bring him in, but for days afterwards he was the only person the dog would allow near him, he just growled at everyone else. 


During the week one of the volunteers left, so the job of looking after the pups needed doing. I was asked to do them as well as the office dogs. The pups were in a quarantine area as they weren't finished having their vaccinations and they were split into 2 sides of a room, so I had to split myself between 2 areas, cleaning, feeding and walking on 3 timetables. The pups were so cute. Yin, Yang and Karma were boisterous and mischievous. They loved to bite everything, including me, and were constantly trying to make an escape!! 

Flora and Fauna were the most adorable tea cup sized pups and super cuddly. They were in a big cage on the work top so the other 3 wouldn't pester them and just loved being held and fussed over. 


Every day we would get to work on our jobs and routines, and every day we would also visit the disabled dogs. At the park it's quite common for them to receive dogs who have been in road traffic accidents. Many can be rehabilitated but some can't. The park has a specially made run for these dogs, that has a tiled floor to help them move around with ease. Each of the disabled dogs has their own fitted set of wheels so they can still go for walks, and every day they are taken for a walk around the park. During a conversation with another volunteer I was told that in many shelters in Asia these disabled dogs would be put down but here at the park they are cared for, treated and allowed to have a happy life.


While we were at the park 9 dogs were prepped and sent on their way to new owners around the world through the parks adoption programme. It was amazing seeing them off but watching the long terms say goodbye was bittersweet. These guys become so attached over the weeks or months they are here and it's easy to see how.


The week wasn't without incident though. One day I noticed one of the pups was a bit off. Wouldn't eat, didn't seem as energetic, wasn't trying to nibble my fingers off when I was opening the gate, or vault over my head to get out the door! The clinic took the pups temperature and administered some fluids and the next day seemed better. The following day, however I noticed some bile on the floor. It was the turn of another pup, all of the same symptoms and just wanted to cuddle up on my leg whenever I sat with them. The clinic decided to take bloods and got a positive result for a disease called Parvo. The park had experienced an outbreak of Parvo earlier in the year so the response was immediate. I was the only volunteer to interact with the pups so I had to go and shower. Cue the shitty water supply! The house had 2 showers and I spent 15 minutes running from one to the other praying for one to actually work. Finally one did and it held out long enough for me to scrub my skin red raw. The pups were moved to another quarantine area to allow the staff to keep them further apart to help stop a spread, and non of us got to see the poor guys again while we were there. 

I did keep in touch with people at the park to ask about the pups and apparently they are now all clear and back to full health. Thankfully the case didn't turn into a wide spread issue but they gave the staff a fright! 


Lastly, you may of noticed I didn't mention the dogs in the office much. The office had 3 dogs. 

-Boss, the founding doggy of the park. Boss is a poodle (maybe a cross) and he is tiny. He was rescued from the floods in Bangkok when the dog sanctuary was first established. He is completely blind in both eyes but rules the office like 'a boss'. He is a grumpy old man and loves the sound of his own bark! If you can get him on side though you can walk him just by calling his name. He listens for your voice and just follows you around. Very impressive, although he does spend a lot of time walking into things as he navigates his way around. 

-Hula, a very mischievous little girl. She loves to play fight and tease Boss, as well as planning her escape by practising wall jumps. She loves her food! She's very energetic and very stubborn. Walking her is great fun but she loves to tease other dogs!

-Then their is Duckie (Merengue). This guy is our dog. We met him when we visited the park in March and we fell in love. We have now officially adopted him. We got to spend some of our week taking him on walks and getting to know him and what super star he was!! He has quadrupled in size since we met him in March so may well be a bear by the time we get him home, but we are completely in love. He is cheeky and playful and very friendly. He loves being fussed over too which is good because the hubby couldn't put him down. They already have a ridiculous 'bromance'!



I could go on about this place for days. There is so much about it I've left out already. But mainly you need to know that it really is incredible. Even in the baking heat, with rubbish accommodation, broken fans, crappy showers, even crappier wifi, tiring work, long days and howling dogs keeping you up all night, it is still worth every bead of sweat just for the sense of achievement at the end of the week. To feel like you've given something. If you are ever in North Thailand, get to the sanctuary and see the dogs!

Tags: adoption, dog shelter, enp dogs, help is still needed, love, stolen hearts, thailand, travelling, volunteering

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