Saved Souls Foundation
Saved Souls Foundation – Khon Kean
Saved Souls Foundation are based in North Eastern Thailand and home to around 600 dogs, a few pigs and around 45 cats. Around 60 of the dogs are disabled or blind. Some were rescued from the streets, dog meat trade or other horrific places. The location is deep in the North East of Thailand in a small village located around 40 minutes from Khon Kaen.
Location: Ban Fang , Khon Kaen, North East Thailand
Daily expenses: Food package available for 150 bht per day for 2 meals, breakfast not included.
Accommodation: Free shared accommodation with electric fans, which sleep up to 8 people in 3 separate rooms. Private air conditioned bungalows are available if you want more privacy for 550 baht per night around a pool and in the main resort. The free accommodation has 2 shower rooms and a kitchen and is very spacious with an outside seating area. This area is also home to some of the dogs to be adopted so there is always many wagging tails to greet you in the morning. The accommodation at Saved Souls is definitely the best out of all the places I have been too. Althought the shared accommodation is great, if you have the budget and you are a couple I would recommend getting one of the 3 bungalows around the pool. They have air con, it gets so hot in the daytime you will really appreciate this luxury.
Note: Khon Kaen is located on the train line from Bangkok to Laos but you will need to then get a taxi from the train station and this takes another 40 minutes. You can get a bus from Chiang Mai, Laos, or BKK which drops you into central Kohn Kean, but again you will need to get a taxi. You can normally get a grab otherwise you may have trouble explaining where you want to go. Most people have never heard of Saved Souls so expect some confusion when trying to get a normal taxi. If you are getting a grab make sure the location comes up on your phone. Saved Souls is very rural so don’t be surprised when your taxi driver takes you down many winding roads and lanes through the countryside. Bang Fang is actually a very small village in the heart of farming land. If you arrive late at Khon Kaen then stay the night in a cheap hostel, as most taxi drivers will be reluctant to take you there after dark.
Daily tasks: Helping the staff clean the runs in the morning , walking and socialising the dogs, walking the blind dogs, taking out the clinic and disabled dogs, and helping out in the clinic. Each day is varied but depends on how many volunteers there are. I found it really interesting to help out in the clinic and its definitely not for the squeamish. Out of all the rescue centres have been to this is the most hands on and varied and there is always plenty to do. Normally the priority is to get the disabled dogs out either in the wheelchairs, or to a grassed off area so they can have a good sniff about, which they absolutely love. There’s a daily schedule which you go through every morning where you are normally assigned zones /areas to look after. Expect to work hard!
What I liked: The setting of Saved Souls is great and very rural, so this is the “real” Thailand I had been looking for. The villagers are really welcoming and its definitely not touristy here. Because you live on site you quickly feel part of a team and will bond quickly with the other volunteers. There is a market once a week to go to but apart from that there are no shops or bars etc so expect to be isolated during your time. I loved being away from the hustle and bustle of Thailand. Once a week we are taken to a big supermarket to stock up on food. Occasionally you go to the National Park for a treat and take the dogs. If there are a lot of volunteers, its a good atmosphere and I made many friends here. You will definitely feel like you are making a difference to the dogs. As I spent a lot of time as the volunteer coordinator, I like to think I made a huge difference in terms of the happiness of the dogs and getting them all walked and out the runs as much as possible. The new manager is trying very hard to improve things and implement new systems to make it run better.
Things to note: There is a lot to improve and they need more funding all the time. Like many rescues they survive month to month and struggle daily. I’m not sure how they can keep going like this. Unfortunately they keep taking more dogs and its getting too big and too unmanageable. The dog runs and the needs of the dogs need great improvement in some areas, but for this they need more funding, so its something they are working on. Compared to other rescue centres they need to do a lot on so many levels to reach the standards of places like ENP, Soi Dog and TMTRD. However, I did spend the most time here because there is a real sense of everyone trying to work towards the same goal. It could be a really great centre like the others with a lot more work. I would recommend a visit here, out of all the rescue centres I’ve been to, the dogs at this rescue are the ones I care about the most.
Would I recommend: Yes