Elephant Sanctuary
& Dog Rescue

At Elephant Sanctuary & Dog Rescue, you’ll get the best of both worlds! You’ll spend two weeks in Thailand, working and learning at a dog clinic and at an elephant rescue park.

At the dog clinic, you’ll spend your days assisting the vets as they provide care to cats and dogs and perform spay & neuter surgeries. At the Elephant Nature Park, you’ll provide daily care for 80+ rescued elephants.

Prepare for the future

Thailand is one of the world’s few remaining havens for elephants. Unfortunately, the booming tourist industry often forces these gentle giants into unsafe working conditions. Over your two weeks in Thailand, you can look forward to:
  • Living next to the elephants that call the Elephant Nature Park their home, helping to bathe and feed them
  • Going behind-the-scenes at a dog rescue clinic in Chiang Mai where you’ll learn how to handle instruments, suture wounds, and complete canine physical examinations
  • Exploring the Land of Smiles, as Thailand is widely known for its friendly people, beautiful surroundings, and delicious food

By attending Elephant Sanctuary & Dog Rescue, you can earn up to 60 veterinary hours, a required part of every vet school application.

2024 Program Dates & Tuition

  • 14 Days
  • June 23–July 6
  • July 21–August 3
  • $6,199

What’s Included

Authentic, local meals

On-Site Accommodations

10:1 Teaching Vet-to-Student Ratio

Up to 60 veterinary hours

A staffed roundtrip international flight from a designated airport hub is available for an additional fee.

Program Highlights

Clinical Experience

At the dog rescue clinic, you’ll practice giving canine physical examinations, participate in a heart dissection, practice drawing blood, and assist your teaching veterinarian with procedures in the examination room.

Live with Elephants

At the Elephant Nature Park, you’ll help sanctuary staff care for elephant enclosures, learn about elephant anatomy and physiology, and assist the on-site elephant vet in providing care and testing for various medical conditions.

Discover Thailand

In-between your adventure at the elephant sanctuary and the dog clinic, you can look forward to exploring the magic of Thailand. You’ll visit local street markets, take a meditation lesson with a Buddhist monk, and go ziplining through jungle canopy.

Explore Your Future

This program is the perfect test drive for someone considering a life dedicated to animal welfare. You’ll get a firsthand look at life as a vet working in a dog clinic and the day-to-day of animal conservationists at the elephant sanctuary.

Your Adventure, Day by Day

Day 0

Arrival in Gateway City (Optional)

  • Registration at a hotel nearby the airport
  • Group introductions and welcome dinner

Day 1

Welcome to Thailand

  • Arrival in Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Airport greeting and transfer
  • Orientation & Welcome Dinner

Day 2

Introduction to Dog Rescue Clinic

  • Facility Tour & Safety Presentation
  • Field Class: Approach & Restraint Tactics
  • Practice Physical Examinations

Day 3

Diagnostic Techniques

  • Field Class: Intramuscular and Subcutaneous Injections
  • Lab: Microscope Usage and Suturing
  • Ophthalmic and Dermatologic Examinations and Diagnostics

Day 4


  • Lab: Heart Dissection
  • Blood Draw & Testing Practice
  • Field Class: IV Catheter Placement & Injection

Day 5

Canine Spay & Neuter Surgeries

  • Patient Assessment & Preparation
  • Practical: Anesthesia Monitoring & Surgical Assistance
  • Field Class: Veterinary Careers

Day 6

Feline Spay & Neuter Surgeries

  • Patient Assessment & Preparation
  • Practical: Anesthesia Monitoring & Surgical Assistance
  • Field Class: Applying to Vet School

Day 7 and 8

Excursions in Chiang Mai

  • Visits to Local Street Markets
  • Meditation Lesson with Buddhist Monk
  • Ziplining in the Jungle
  • Outdoor Thai Cooking Class

Day 9

Introduction to Elephant Nature Park

  • Orientation and Park Tour
  • Elephant Safety Procedures
  • Lecture: Elephant Anatomy & Physiology

Day 10

Elephant Husbandry & Management

  • Morning Elephant Walk
  • Elephant Food Kitchen Shift
  • Habitat Cleaning & Enrichment Activities

Day 11

Elephant Medical Management

  • Field Class: An Elephant’s Diet
  • Lab: Urine & Fecal Analysis
  • Ensuring Herd Health

Day 12

Small Animal Shelter Medicine

  • Lecture: Cat Anatomy, Physical Exams, and Common Pet Conditions
  • Field Class: Thai Culture & Buddhism’s Impact on Vet Care
  • Elephant Enclosure Maintenance

Day 13

Elephant Wound Management & Geriatric Care

  • Elephant Vet Rounds
  • Elephant Skywalk Project
  • Calf Encounter

Day 14


  • Airport transfer

The events included in this itinerary are subject to minor changes before your program.

Please note: Elephant riding is not included or permitted in this itinerary. Read more about why we don’t ride elephants as written by Loop Abroad co-founder Jane Stine.

Image Gallery

What some of our students and their parents are saying…

This trip was truly life changing. I loved the people and staff and connected with them in a way I didn’t see happening.”

My son was able to have a wonderful experience learning meaningful things while having fun with his new friends.”

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For the safety of students, staff, and animals, not all animals may be touched or handled by participants. The teaching veterinarian and other professional staff members will advise students of the proper time, place, and method to handle animals when it is safe to do so.