Provide care and love to
street dogs in
Sri Lanka

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 with our 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! 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 all of the street dogs that have currently been identified in the local area and to also look after any rescued dogs within our small dog sanctuary. 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 street dog 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.

With daily dog feeds and interaction with our volunteers, the dogs within the local village can live a happier life (as much as possible). On top of this, our local team and volunteers will rescue dogs in urgent need of care, to ensure they can rebuild their strength and health within our safe haven, before being released or re-homed when suitable to do so.

Our long term goal is to offer vaccinations and neutering, so we can start to manage the stray dog population and reduce the risk of diseases, especially rabies. 

Where will I be volunteering?

You will primarily be volunteering in the village of Akurala, where our volunteer accommodation and 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, wander through the temples and around the wetlands to help all stray dogs in the area.

You will also spend time each day within our small purpose built dog sanctuary where we rescue and rehabilitate any street dog who is in need of urgent care.

On an ad-hock basis you will also get to visit, observe and provide an extra pair of hands within a veterinary practice in the nearby town. 

What is my role?

You will have the pleasure of having the most important role, caring for 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 in our dedicated dog rescue tuk tuk.

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.

You will also spend a lot of time within our small purpose built sanctuary, where you will be responsible for the welfare of any dogs who are currently being looked after. You will need to feed, wash, administer any medication (with the help of the local team) and play with all of the dogs here, along with ensuring the sanctuary is maintained and clean.

At least twice a month, a vet will accompany you and the other volunteers to provide treatment to any street dogs that need it. On top of this, you may 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.

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.

During the morning you will assist the local team in preparing and cooking the dog food and then head out in our dedicated dog rescue tuk tuk to feed as many dogs as possible within the local village.

Every day 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 of course play with them! The 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.

You will need to take time each day to ensure any dogs within our sanctuary are fed, have water to drink, give any medication required and play / interact with them.

A typical day will see you volunteering between 3 and 4 hours, with the rest of your day free to explore the local area or to assist on our other programmes – including sea turtles, childcare and teaching.

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. 

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.

A very welcoming and safe environment

A very welcoming and safe environment. The programmes were well considered. I was on the dog programme in Sri Lanka. It was great for a week! We got to feed the dogs in tuk tuks and take some puppies to the vets. We became so close to all the dogs and basically knew all their names by the end of ... Read More

Emily HailstoneJanuary 2024

Life lessons in Sri Lanka

We spent a week volunteering in Sri Lanka at the turtle project - but because there were no turtles laying or hatching, we flipped to the street dog project. We were also the only volunteers staying. This probably made it a very different experience: much less sociable, but more engagement with t... Read More

Tessa BoaseJanuary 2024

Sri Lanka Turtle Sanctuary

Spent 3 weeks at the Turtle Sanctuary and managed to participate in Turtles/ Kindergarten and the Dog programmes. All were excellent and well managed. Accommodation was good and nothing was too much trouble for the team. The weekend trip was a great opportunity to see more of Sri Lanka and the Ma... Read More

Justine McDonaldDecember 2023

A great first volunteer trip abroad!

I have just returned to the UK following 4 weeks of volunteering on the street dog and sea turtle conservation projects with The Mighty Roar in Sri Lanka. Ayomi and the whole local team were wonderful throughout my time there. The friendly and welcoming nature of everyone involved on the project ... Read More

Helen CalvertNovember 2023

Sri Lanka Dog Rescue

I did 4 weeks in Sri Lanka doing the dog rescue program and it was amazing!! All the staff and other volunteers there were super welcoming and lovely, even when I arrived a few days later than expected Ayomi still made sure I had the same welcome experience to everyone else. Learning about the cu... Read More

Nicole MckenzieNovember 2023

Amazing experience with The Mighty Roar!

The Mighty Roar Sri Lanka was the most fabulous experience for us (myself, 7&13yr children). The project work with turtles, street dogs and local children (at school & kindergarten) was exciting, fun & rewarding. And TMR staff were always super kind, helpful & organised. All round... Read More

Jo GambiOctober 2023

Sri Lanka volunteering

I had an amazing time in Sri Lanka. I wanted to thank Ayomi and the staff for providing such a beautiful experience. I made some amazing friends and lived so many unforgettable adventures. I was very pleased with all the vegetarian and vegan options offered during the meals, and with Ayomi’s wi... Read More

Marta PravisanoOctober 2023

Sri Lanka

My time in Sri Lanka was so incredible. I did the dog programme for 3 weeks and wish I could’ve extended for longer as being able to meet all of the dogs and getting to know them was so much fun. Thaksi helped to make the stay so much more enjoyable and was such a lovely person to interact with... Read More

Chloe BradleyAugust 2023

Sri Lanka

I did 3 weeks with Mighty Roar in Sri Lanka and absolutely loved it, the people were so friendly and welcoming and when we weren’t working on our volunteering programs they would plan fun activities for us like surfing, cricket, raft river tour and even when we made our own plans at the weekend... Read More

Melissa HardyMay 2023

Great family adventure

I have just returned from a 3 week stay in sri lanka with my 4 children. We did the turtle project and street dog project. The whole experience was amazing. The country is beautiful and all the people are so friendly.

You were made to feel part of the family at the accommodation and nothing... Read More

Laura MacgowanApril 2023

Escaping The UK Winter

Wanting to escape the UK winter cold but equally seeking a unique experience, I signed up to TMR in Sri Lanka - and had an amazing time with memories made for life! Firstly the team are incredibly helpful and friendly (thanks to Karu, Zoyza, Mammu, Indika, Ayomi and all for everything!); the food... Read More

Ian FreshwaterFebruary 2023

Loved My Stay Here

Loved my stay here. Amazing people and amazing opportunities. everyone working there is so kind and fun! would definitely recommend!

Florence WattFebruary 2023

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 gro... 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 in... 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

The best experience in Sri Lanka

  • January 2024
In April, I went to Sri Lanka on the 2 week Travel and Volunteer experience and had the BEST time! The experience was the perfect idea as it meant I could take part in a meaningful project while still getting to explore the beautiful country of Sri Lanka on my holiday from work. It was my first time travelling completely by myself and the team, both in the UK and in Sri Lanka, made it really easy for me. If you're in any doubt of going on a trip with TMR, this is your sign to do it! I'm so grateful to the whole team who gave me this incredible experience.

Katharine's story

Two amazing weeks in Sri Lanka and I loved every moment

  • June 2023
I spent two amazing weeks in Sri Lanka and I loved every moment. During my time I was able to fully immerse in the incredible culture of the country and the local team made you feel welcome and were all there for any queries you had. I’m very grateful and thankful to TMR for making this experience unforgettable.

Olivia's story

Volunteering in Sri Lanka at 17 years old

  • April 2023
In April I spent two weeks volunteering in the turtle conservation program in Sri Lanka. At only 17 I was terrified to travel so far on my own, but it ended up being some of the best few weeks of my life! Sri Lanka as a country is incredible - the people are so friendly, the lifestyle is very relaxed and the food is amazing! The mighty roar team in Sri Lanka could not have been more welcoming, anything we needed help organising would be sorted straight away. This experience was a trip of a lifetime for me and hopefully I will go back one day!

Holly 's story

Our life changing family trip to Sri Lanka

  • December 2022
After some health issues at the beginning of the year we decided to do something incredible in the summer with the kids and I’m so grateful we found The Mighty Roar! I have three children aged 13, 10 and 7 and this trip has been life changing to say the least.

Sarah's story

Sea turtles & childcare in Sri Lanka

  • October 2022
I volunteered in Sri Lanka for four weeks, split between the sea turtle and childcare programmes. Everything was really well organised and I had the most enjoyable time and met some amazing people along the way.

Freddie's story

Teaching in Sri Lanka

  • March 2022
Volunteering in Sri Lanka is a must do for everyone! I was a teacher there for 4 weeks, where I was able to plan and teach the sweetest kids from the local village, meet many other amazing volunteers and bond with the whole local team. If you're looking for an experience like no other, then head to Sri Lanka!

Malachy's story

Creating memories in Sri Lanka

  • January 2022
I spent 12 weeks in Sri Lanka with The Mighty Roar and I honestly enjoyed every second of it! My time in Sri Lanka was way more than just volunteering. I made some amazing friendships, travelled around the whole island and learnt so much.

Emma's story

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