All across the world you will find expat and local animal lovers setting up and running their own centres to care for the area’s street dog population, abused donkeys, abandoned cats, injured birds or distressed wild animals. Big or small, domestic or wild, there are numerous places to help a creature in need and get fed and a bed at the same time.
Help at an animal rescue centre in Northern Peru
This cat and dog shelter has been described as an oasis in the middle of the dry desert, and has a quiet peaceful vibe. Rosemary, the founder of the centre, that includes a veterinarian clinic, could use help with walking the dogs each morning, grooming and administering meds when necessary from people genuinely passionate about animals. A property intended for use as a future animal shelter also needs looking after.
Help with cooking in our wildlife rehabilitation centre near Kruger National Park
This volunteer gig is less hands on with the animals – instead the tasks here are cooking meals for groups of up to 35 people – but you can assist other volunteers with the animals in your free time. The centre specialises in rehabilitating orphaned or injured primates indigenous to South Africa, forming them into cohesive troops for release back to nature.
Volunteer at an animal sanctuary in upper Austria
A small family run animal shelter on the top of a mountain invites volunteers to help out with caring for their menagerie of horses, donkeys, cows and dogs. Along with running the sanctuary, there is general maintenance of the stable, work in the forest and, in the winter, snow shovelling. There is a ski area close by.
Chemical-free Gardening and Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Turkey
A place to sleep and full board is provided in exchange for help with various projects including the rehabilitation or lifelong care of wild animals (mainly predatory birds), plant genetics preservation, education on ecological and sustainable living, and environment protection.
Volunteers at a parrot sanctuary on the Island of Kerrera in the Scottish Inner Hebrides
Volunteers are the life blood of this privately run sanctuary on a sparsely populated island (though shops and night life are a five minute ferry crossing away). Among the jobs that need doing are cleaning and feeding the parrots, repairing the aviaries and starting a vegetable patch to cut the cost of feeding the birds.
Donkey Sanctuary in Crete
Help is needed for a few hours each morning with feeding, grooming, mucking out the 20 elderly donkeys abandoned or abused after working hard for many years. There are also plenty of rescue dogs needing to go walkies. Volunteer staff are fed but not housed on this project.
Image courtesy Rikki’s Refuge