Provide care and love to
the 100+ street

Make a difference to a dogs life today

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  • Duration
    1-24 Weeks
  • Accompanied age
  • Minimum age
  • Start dates
    1st & 3rd Saturday
  • From
  • Duration
    1-24 Weeks
  • Accompanied age
  • Minimum age
  • Start dates
    1st & 3rd Saturday
  • From

Sri Lanka street dog rescue

Do you love dogs as much as we do? We need your help in Sri Lanka on our new street dog initiative that aims to help protect and care for man’s best friend and to improve the animal-human relationship within the local community.

Being a dog in Sri Lanka is a hard life and one of the things you will notice when you first arrive onto the island is just how many strays there are wandering the beaches and streets – upwards of 3 million in total! The lack of food, shelter and care drastically reduces the lifespan of a street dog and with the rising prevalence of rabies, the future unfortunately does not look good for most.

We urgently need volunteers like you to help monitor, take care of and feed the 100+ street dogs that have currently been identified in the local area. You will contribute to a long term and sustainable programme that aims to reduce the number of streets dogs within the local village and then further afield through sterilisation campaigns, education and re-homing initiatives.

Background to the dog sanctuary programme

One of the major problems in Sri Lanka is the vast number of stray dogs wandering the streets (island wide). It is estimated that there are currently over 3 million street dogs in Sri Lanka, many of whom suffer immensely through malnutrition, untreated diseases and horrific injuries generally caused by humans. This evident suffering and misery is heart breaking for any animal lover to witness, let alone walk away from.

Rabies can be a fatal disease which is transmitted by many animals, but mainly dogs in Sri Lanka. There are a large number of dog bite cases on the island, which is becoming a growing concern for locals and tourists alike. With the risk and associated fear of rabies, stray dogs are often demonized, leading to cruelty at the hands of humans.

The Sri Lankan Government have recently adopted more humane methods to control the population and spread of diseases, focusing now on neutering and vaccinating stray dogs. As a result, there has been a significant drop in the number of human rabies deaths and incidents and we hope to continue this trend within the local area.

By offering vaccinations and neutering we can start to manage the stray dog population and reduce the risk of diseases, especially rabies. On top of this, by providing daily meals, interaction and love, the dogs will become less aggressive to humans (due to bad treatment in the past) and there will be less conflict between all.

Where will I be volunteering?

You will primarily be volunteering in the village of Akurala where our volunteer accommodation and community programmes are based. You will be spending the majority of your time where it is most needed, out on the streets with the dogs!

You will have the unique opportunity to explore this traditional Sri Lankan village as you get to know the local community and the cute dogs that call it home. You will walk through the jungle, over the railway tracks, through people’s gardens and around the wetlands to help all stray dogs in the area.

On an ad-hock basis you will have the opportunity to visit a dog sanctuary to provide a vital extra pair of hands. We currently assist several sanctuaries in the nearby area, with transport taking no more than one hour.

What is my role?

You will have the pleasure of having the most important role, being with the street dogs on a daily basis and ensuring they are healthy and fed. You will have the incredible opportunity to do your bit to help protect and care for these lovely canines and your time will have a massive positive and long-term impact on their lives.

Most importantly you will feed all of the street dogs in the local village every single day. You will need to prepare the meals by cooking rice, chicken and / or fish and to find some suitable leaves to use as makeshift plates. Everyone will then head out with a large bucket of delicious (but very smelly!) food either on foot or by tuktuk.

Every morning you will spend time identifying the dogs and carrying out a general health check. Any dogs that you and the local team think are in need of any care will be noted and the vet will try and provide any necessary treatment on their next visit.

During this time you will also take your time to provide all of the love, cuddles and interaction the dogs are happy with. By interacting with the dogs on a daily basis, everyone’s trust levels will increase and there will be less aggression from both the dogs and humans that could result in unnecessary injuries.

On the first and third Tuesday of every month a vet will accompany you and the other volunteers to provide treatment to any street dogs that need it. On top of this, at least once per week you will have the option to observe and shadow a local vet within their practice to see how treatments and service differs to back in your home country. It is here you will also learn about how street dogs are treated and some of the injuries they can suffer.

If you are a qualified or student vet, then depending on your experience, you will be able to work more alongside the resident vet helping to carry out operations and other important tasks.

What will a typical day look like?

You will spend all of your time with the dogs, providing all of the love and attention they need.

Every morning after breakfast you will take a pre-defined route around the village looking for as many street dogs as possible. You will do your best identify the dogs from our database, carry out health checks and then play with them! The morning walk will take between 1 and 2 hours. When you return back to the volunteer accommodation you should complete any required paperwork and you will then have some free time.

After lunch you will need to assist Hector with preparing and cooking the dog food. At around 2:30pm everyone will then head out by foot or on tuktuk to provide food to all of the dogs.

Please note that a typical day will see you volunteering between 3 and 4 hours, unless we visit a dog sanctuary, to which the activities will last the full day. You will have the opportunity to assist with our sea turtle and teaching programmes each day or use your free time to explore the local area or relax on the beautiful beaches in Hikkaduwa.

Where will I be staying?

We cannot think of anywhere better to stay when volunteering in Sri Lanka! Our volunteer accommodation is just a stones throw away (10 second walk) from a quiet golden sand beach that is lined with palm trees – paradise! It’s the perfect place to come and relax each evening and witness some incredible sunsets. Not only this, but you can snorkel in the crystal clear waters that have an abundance of colourful fish swimming around the coral reef and you may even see a sea turtle swim by!

The touristy backpacker town of Hikkaduwa is just a 10 minute tuk-tuk ride away where you can visit many restaurants and bars that back right onto the beach. A favourite town amongst most volunteers, there are many supermarkets, quirky shops and water activities on offer – including surfing. The fishermen town of Ambalangoda is just another 10 minute tuk-tuk ride away in the other direction and offers a more local and traditional way of life. You can visit markets, devil mask museums and also see the largest laying down Buddha statue.

The accommodation is also conveniently located close to the historic town of Galle and well known beaches including Mirissa and Unawatuna.

Other things to consider

Student / Qualified Vets - If you are currently studying something relevant at university then we may be able to tailor the programme based on your course requirements. You will be able to get fully involved and help assist vets with operations and other important tasks and gain vital hands on experience to help aid your studies and future employment.

Top destination - Sri Lanka is widely considered by our volunteers to be our best volunteer destination. The majority of our feedback suggests that this is due to the superior local support offered by Charith and our local team, the volunteer programmes making a real difference, value for money and accommodation location. With this in mind, we believe that Sri Lanka is the perfect destination for first-time travellers, under 18's and families with younger children.

Helping on multiple projects - Whilst in Sri Lanka and as a dog sanctuary volunteer, you will also have the opportunity to get involved with all of our other programmes. This unique experience will allow you to help within the dog sanctuary, but also assist where wanted on our sea turtle, childcare and teaching programmes for no additional charge.

Weekends and free time - You will have every weekend off from volunteering and this is the perfect time to explore everything this beautiful island has to offer. You are more than welcome to simply relax around the accommodation and enjoy the nearby beaches, but most volunteers will use this time to travel and see the country. Further down this page you will come across many suggestions and ideas on where you could go. Alternatively, if you are looking to see as much of the country as possible during this time, travel with other volunteers and be accompanied by one of our local team members, then you may be interested in one or more of the organised weekend trips we run.

Wonderful Time In Sri Lanka

We had a wonderful time in Sri Lanka with The Mighty Roar! Working on the street dog program with fabulous Hector the dog carer was amazing! The accommodation was basic but fine, the food was great and the staff were so friendly and helpful! I would hugely recommend this experience to any age ... Read More

Elisa CowleyJuly 2022

Sri Lanka Street Dogs

I travelled to Sri Lanka and spent 3 weeks volunteering with The Mighty Roar on the Street Dog Program.

I highly recommend doing this program as you get to see first hand the struggles that the dogs face on a day to day basis but also in getting to experience the overwhelming achievement... Read More

Maddie GumbletonJuly 2022

2 Weeks Dog Project

I was in Sri Lanka with TMR for 2 weeks in the dog program. The local staff is amazing, they are doing everything they can to make your stay as enjoyable as possible! I really loved the food that was cooked freshly for us every day! Read More

Lena MüllerApril 2022

Helping to look after 1500 dogs!

If you love dogs as much as I do, then this is a must do project! I could never have imagined what 1500 dogs looks like, but I can honestly say that the work that goes on here is astounding. I will be back to help as soon as possible.

Isabelle TetleyFebruary 2020

Volunteering in Sri Lanka with my partner

  • April 2019
Our visit to Sri Lanka on the Sea Turtle program was nothing but incredible (other than a little hot and sweaty). Our 3 weeks was amazing from day one, with a massive warm welcome from everyone.

Catherine's story

Conserving sea turtles in Sri Lanka

  • April 2019
There is no better feeling in the world than watching a hundred or so baby turtle hatchlings scrambling along the shoreline to the sea, the determination and drive to reach the ocean, it never gets old.

Martin's story

Teaching and turtles in Sri Lanka

  • January 2019
I went to Sri Lanka in January 2019 to volunteer on the sea turtle program, but was also able to help teach English. I had a huge sense of fulfillment from both projects in completely different ways.

Esther's story

Volunteering with my family in Sri Lanka

  • August 2018
My family and I chose to volunteer in Sri Lanka last August for 3 weeks. We wanted to introduce the children to volunteering so that we could all help give something back to a local community.

Sue's story

Sea turtle conservation in Sri Lanka

  • July 2018
My daughter and I volunteered with sea turtles last August and we would 100% recommend The Mighty Roar; we have even looked at doing another project in the next year.

Jennie's story

A month helping turtles in Sri Lanka

  • July 2018
I have just come back from spending 4 weeks at The Mighty Roar in Sri Lanka and I can honestly say it was the best experience of my life.

Courtney's story

The real Sri Lanka Experience

  • June 2018
Seeing all of Sri Lanka and meeting the amazing people there could have not been any more perfect. An incredible 3 weeks that I will never forget.

Samantha's story