Small Animal Clinic & Sanctuary
This small animal clinic & sanctuary strives to mitigate animal suffering with an ongoing spay/neuter campaign, street dog rescue & rehabilitation project, and community education for the humane treatment of all animals.
USD per week
- Safe and comfortable accommodation
- Airport transfers
- Wi-fi access
- Laundry facilities
- Pre-departure support
- Clinic support
- Meals (approx. $15 USD / week)
- Free-time activities
- Visa fees (if applicable)
- Travel Insurance
GVE volunteers get discounted rates on flights, travel insurance, and weekend activities through our STA Travel partners!
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Arrival dates every Sunday
Limited to 2 volunteers / week
Minimum duration: 2 weeks (no max)
5 working days + 2 free days (optional) per week
Working days involve operations at the clinic, treatment & vaccination of strays at the sanctuary, ambulance call outs, and community education for around Coimbatore.
- Spay/neuter campaign: 12-20 surgeries per day
Pre-vets, vet students & vet techs: assist the vet, perform pre-op clinical exams, inject antibiotics & pain relief, observe surgery, place ET tubes, place IV catheters, monitor anesthesia, blood sampling, inject sedation, administer medication, calculate drug dosages, set up IV fluids, calculate IV fluid rates, give vaccinations, provide wound care (cleaning, stabilizing, bandaging, etc.), and other jobs at the vet’s discretion
*Please note: these are just some of the activities that volunteers have been able to get involved in- activities are based on the needs and resources of the clinic so they will vary day-to-day (training is provided as necessary).
Vet students: spay/neuter surgery may be performed at the vet’s discretion.
Vets: there are currently 2 vets on staff who perform operations, provide basic treatments and train volunteers. We also welcome temporary vets throughout the year, including new graduates (training is provided as necessary).
- Medical treatment & vaccinations for stray dogs
- Animal ambulance: catch & release street dogs and emergency rescue calls
- Community education for the humane treatment of animals
Free Time: volunteers can work 7 days a week or take up to 2 days off to explore Coimbatore- local activities include hiking, yoga/meditation, Marudhamalai (hindu temple), Black Thunder (water park), and Siruvani Waterfalls.
Volunteers stay in a spacious apartment with 2 bedrooms (1 single bed in each), 1 bathroom, a kitchen, and a living room. Bedding (pillows, sheets, and blankets), electricity, hot water, wifi, and laundry are included. Food is not included but the staff are happy to help you find local groceries & eateries (cost is roughly $15 USD per week).
“Life at Coimbatore for me started just a few months ago. Being an avid animal lover I wanted to be a part of an animal society and [this] has been the perfect place. As a volunteer… I’ve been able to interact, understand and learn better about animals (dogs especially). This place provides a secure, caring and loving environment for animals, especially for those that are physically challenged. The shelter has an excellent and dedicated team that works towards the welfare of rescued dogs. The team treats, feeds, cleans and cares for any animal that walks into its doors with much care and affection. The team has also been able to execute the animal birth control programme effectively. The NGO has something new to offer every day and learning never ends since there is something different about each animal. [This] definitely is place to visit and if you are one of those people who has ample time in hand with interest in contributing to the animal community then do be a part of a family that has nothing but only love to offer.”
“My experience… is one I will never forget. Everyone at the shelter was really lovely and helpful in showing us around and making us feel at home. Team… consists of really hard-working and compassionate people… Volunteering with animals at a shelter that is run and managed by such passionate people has been an unforgettable memory during my time in India. I hope to return… to help them continue with the incredible work that they are doing. Thanks to everyone we met on our journey and for the work they are doing.”
– Danielle A.
“We chose to come for two weeks with my daughter, Viveka. Once you are there you realize that two weeks is not enough to really get the most out of it, or rather to give your best. It takes some time to get into the routines, but every day we came I liked what I did… It was so positive to see small dogs, not eating much, growing and Anokhi who was so tiny when we arrived was much stronger at the end. Several dogs were adopted, so happy for Bala – even if I missed her! We also really appreciated all the people working or volunteering while we were there, so devoted, friendly and helpful. A special thanks to Kate! And of course to Mini and Madhu for all the energy they spend. Nandri, Nandri, Nandri!!!”
“What I liked the most was to play with Weezer and see him bullying his shelter mates like Flounder, who had his back legs paralyzed. Quynh said to me that I could use a harness to help him walk. In the beginning I walked him for 5 minutes and the last time I walked Flounder he walked for 20 minutes! The other volunteers were really nice like Kate, Quynh, Danielle and Sarah. I was happy when the parvo dogs got recovered. And naming some new puppies was a pleasure. Mini and Madhu had a good idea to build this shelter. I’m surely coming back!”
“I spent a month and a half at the shelter, it was my first experience with an organization that deals with animals. I always wanted to work with dogs and I thought this could be the right opportunity to do it. I could not have asked for anything better. It took me a few days to learn the names of the dogs and to understand exactly the daily work to do, but thanks to the help of all the staff in a short time everything has become natural. I loved every single dog, from first to last! they do not ask anything but a little attention, some caress, some walk, a bathroom every now and then, good food and above all … lots of love! Taking care of them, even if in a limited time, made my days special in Coimbatore and I know that I will go back to Italy enriched with a wonderful experience! Thanks to all the staff, and a special thanks to the other volunteers, you all have made my adventure even more special. Thank you again.”
“I was desperately looking for animal welfare organisations to make a real difference in lives. I started volunteering back in July 2017 with no prior experience with handling dogs but as time passed, I grew extremely comfortable with the tasks at the shelter. [This program] is not just about the bonds you make with the pooches but also about the bonds with amazing people that you come across, be it the staff or fellow volunteers from all over the world. [This] is without a doubt one of the best things about Coimbatore and volunteering here is a decision I’ll cherish for life!”
– Mukul A.
“Volunteering… has been an incredible experience, it is hard to express my gratitude to everyone. I discovered a true passion for healing animals… which is why I returned again and again on my travels. I fell in love with the animals, the work and the atmosphere, of the whole place. I could not seem to tear myself away from the shelter spending most days there 9am-6pm, not because I was expected to do so, but because I could not stop. I learned a lot about the street animals in India, what a huge difference a person’s love, care, treatment and attention can do for the animals at the shelter. I overcame fears, focused on healing, and every day I was learning something new. I grew as a person and for this, I will always be extremely thankful to everyone at [this program]. As it is a shelter, sadly many animals still pass on despite best efforts, so it is important to be prepared for this, as it can be hard sometimes. However, this is one of the many reasons volunteers and their support are needed so badly; as it gives the animals at the shelter more of a chance to keep going and more hope for a brighter future. Although I dearly miss all the animals and staff… I hope to be returning soon and would like to say a huge thank you from all the animals, you have helped save and from me.”
– Alice C.
“I never realized there were so many dogs in Coimbatore. There are lots of dogs who are paralyzed or can use only their forelegs like Henry, Buddy and also few cats which was very surprising to me. I often feel sad for them or even get angry on those reckless drivers but then seeing them with such spirit and hope in life and the will to survive and live, always lifts my mood. It is good to see that lots of people are coming forward to adopt rather than shop. I have met so many overseas volunteers from whom I have learnt a lot of new things. Now I know how to provide some basic treatment or first aid for animals and the important thing that I realized was that animals also go through psychological or emotional problems, thus making them; either be aggressive towards humans or go into deep depression and this can only be cured through patience, faith and trust.”
– Vaishnavee S.
“I instantly felt at home. They were very hospitable and eager to inform me about the animal welfare in India. My admiration goes out to everybody working/volunteering at [this program] – whether they are caretakers, rescuers, volunteers or management, as they were all very dedicated to helping animals. Special thanks go out to the vets, Drs. Raja and Jisna! They took me along with all the surgeries, patients and rescues they encountered in the clinic in Coimbatore and were open to discussion on diagnostics or treatment options. Although there were some differences in ways of working, I think we all learned a lot. They not only introduced me to practicing veterinary medicine in India, they also taught me a lot about the way of life in southern India, among others marriage, movies, religion, and most importantly: food! Almost every day, they let me try some of their homemade delicious snacks or lunch and I really loved it! In the short time I stayed at HAS, I’ve seen a lot of very distressing cases and diseases we hardly ever encounter in Europe. I also learned that, even with limited resources, there is a lot that can be done to help these animals. I really enjoyed my stay… and I hope to come back someday to meet up with my human and furry friends I acquired there.”
– Anna T.
“Coming from a more developed country I am not familiar with the sickness and starvation resulting from the dogs living on the streets. Yes, for me it was distressing at first seeing the dogs and puppies, but the love, care and attention from the vets, staff and volunteers was amazing. They have a sterilization programme which helps to reduce the number of strays, and there is a rescue and rehoming scheme, where they encourage people to adopt the dogs as pets… [This] is a place where animals are respected and loved. Well done to you all at the shelter, you are wonderful!”
“My name is Sabina and I am living in the Netherlands. [This] is a great organization and they do a lot of great work. The dogs in Coimbatore must be very happy with such an organization! I am really pleased that I could be part of the team. It is a pity that it was only for 2 weeks.”
– Sabina J.
“I truly valued my experience… and would love to visit again one day. I was honestly touched by what I saw… The passion that some people have towards animals just pulled at my heart strings. Animals are vulnerable just as children are, they need an advocate and they need care to prosper. The volunteers were cared for so well… I personally felt included, respected, and valued. Thank you to all.”
– Heidi F.
“I worked at HAS for one month in July as a volunteer to help take care of the animals over there. There were some cats and even sometimes birds and cows, but the shelter is mainly taking care of dogs. Since I’ll engage next year in veterinary studies, I was extremely interested by all of the operations and veterinarian point of view. I could help sometimes the veterinarians to do small tasks, like changing bandages of an amputated dog or watching another while there were giving him injections. We did some rehabilitation of paralyzed dogs, and for the ones who still had hope it showed really good results, like Caesar, who was beaten by his owner and could walk again, or Arthur, a labrador cross who is now trying to stand on his own… Thank you so much… for letting me have such a wonderful experience, and I hope I’ll be back someday!”
– Cyrielle R.
“Working in the shelter was an amazing experience for both me and Maria. The staff welcomed us with warm heart and made us feel like a family from the first day itself… Every Sunday we met other volunteers from the city who came to give their hands and do their part in helping the animals. Volunteers from all walks of life came and joined their hands in making the shelter full of life and spreading joy all over. Even though some of the dogs were in critical conditions, we took care of them along with the well experienced vets and other staff members and saw the wonderful transformation right in front of our eyes. Maria’s constant love and care for some differently-abled dogs also saw some amazing developments in them by the time we were ready to leave. Those were some inspiring moments for me and made me feel motivated to do more for those other unfortunate stray animals in India. The shelter is surrounded by trees giving shades all-round the year, making it easy for us to work and giving play time to every dog and cat staying in the shelter. The added advantage of having some delicious local restaurants around made it easy for all volunteers to get food anytime. There is also an amazing sanctuary a little bit fat from the shelter, where some of the animals that cannot be released back into the streets are kept. The place is filled with green grass and a beautiful mango farm with blissful wind blowing always. Any volunteer who is looking for some quiet and solitude, the sanctuary is the best place to be and help out with the animals there. Last but not the least, we would like to thank everyone… who give their heart and soul for the needs of every volunteer and making it easy for us in every way. They are wonderful people without whom, everything mentioned above would not have been possible… We would like to come again and give our best in making the shelter a wonderful paradise for all those unfortunate animals out there in the street.”
-Bony and Maria
“I am from the UK where stray dogs are not a problem, so it was a complete shock to see how so many animals live here! During my time at the shelter I witnessed huge improvements in several of the sick dogs, some of which will stick in my mind forever. One was a young female named Millie, who arrived at the shelter painfully skinny and with no fur on her body. I remember while giving her first bathing treatment she looked so sad and lost, with her thin hairless body I felt really sorry for her! Just a few weeks later however, the effects of her skin treatment were incredible, now with an almost full body of healthy fur she looked so beautiful! Even more amazing was the transformation in her personality… The dog that had been so shy, scared and desperate to escape was now eating well, running around, and visibly enjoying living and socialising at the shelter. It was lovely to see her smiling face and wagging tail running over and licking my face in excitement when I greeted her… Just one of many moments that made my job feel so much more rewarding! During my last days… I was lucky enough to get invited to a vegan pot luck event where I met many other animal lovers, ate delicious food, and really felt a part of a caring community that is committed to helping animals in India! All members of the team are constantly playing their part by coordinating rescues, donating, fostering, and generally raising awareness of the truly amazing work done here! I would like to personally thank Mini and the other founders without who’s passion for animal welfare none of this would be possible, and Kate who was my friend, mentor and an inspiration to me in the way she dealt with the animals! I am grateful to all the staff and volunteers at the shelter… I learned a lot there, and now have more confidence for when I encounter sick or injured stray dogs in future! Everybody involved… should be proud; you are making a great difference in the lives of animals who deserve a better chance! It was a pleasure to be a part of it, and I hope to join you again soon!”
“As I arrived in India, I didn`t have any idea, what to expect. And if I am honest, in the beginning it was a little shock for me. I was absolutely not aware of the severe situation of animals on India’s streets. There are so many animals, especially dogs that suffer from malnutrition or are injured. This is really hard to see and also the fact that less people care about them is hard.. Luckily there is [this program], who dedicate their lives to make the situation for street animals better and I can say, that I am really proud that I was part of this organisation for a while. I wanted to work with an animal welfare organisation for a really long time and I can say that it was one of the best things in my life until now. As I came here, I immediately felt really welcomed and comfortable. I got a nice flat, could do my own shopping, had WiFi and got a phone with a local number. Everything was well organised. I also really enjoyed it, that I could decide on my own, how long I want stay at the shelter and when I want to have my free days. I really enjoyed the work at the shelter and I always missed the dogs a bit, if I was home again. The staff was friendly and did good work. Sometimes we had some understanding problems, but else it was fine. Of course, there were some hard days too. if a puppy died or a severely injured dog came in. But there were more good days than bad and it was always nice to see, if a dog recovered from his illness or a puppy got adopted. One of the nicest things I saw there was, when two of the paralyzed dogs started walking again. One was a little puppy, who just started walking one day and became better and better by practicing and the other one was an older dog from who I thought, that she will never be able to walk again. I can`t say how happy and surprised I was, when I saw her standing and walking one day. It was like a miracle!”
– Sophia B.