Shelter medicine volunteers: UF alum asks for your help at struggling shelter in Thailand

Are you looking to put your shelter medicine skills to use? Volunteer veterinarians and nurses are urgently needed at a special needs shelter in Thailand!

Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program alum Dr. Katherine Polak serves as international director of animal welfare for the Soi Dog Foundation, Thailand’s largest animal welfare charity. She’s putting out a call to her shelter medicine colleagues to help a shelter located deep in Northeastern Thailand.

“Saved Souls Animal Sanctuary cares for over 600 animals, many of which were rescued from the dog meat trade or after road traffic accidents left them paralyzed,” Polak said. “Due to a recent split between the shelter’s founder in Germany and director in Thailand, the shelter is currently in financial crisis. Soi Dog Foundation is currently providing financial assistance until the shelter can get back on its feet.”

At the moment, the shelter is drastically understaffed. A total of 10 animal care staff try their hardest to perform basic cleaning and feeding tasks, but there is no time for socialization, monitoring for disease, or adoption activities. The shelter lacks an on-site veterinarian and trained nurse, complicating the medical care of 100+ special needs patients. The care of such patients in group housing also presents many challenges.

“Medical volunteers are desperately needed to perform shelter rounds, recognize signs of illness, perform treatments, and help implement changes that will drastically improve the welfare of sheltered animals,” Polak said. “The shelter is located in a beautiful rustic environment, and is equipped with an on-site clinic and treatment room. Volunteers will be provided with free accommodation in an on-site bungalow, access to a swimming pool and kitchen, and free meals.”

Think you might be up for a challenge? If so, please email Dr. Polak at