Peru Dog Rescue Volunteer Stories
Here are a sample of experiences from previous volunteers at our Peru Dog Rescue Project in Cusco. You can also read about some of our volunteers' fundraising endeavours in our Volunteers' Fundraising Hall of Fame.
“I loved and cherished every moment I spent there and actually seeing the appreciation in the dogs eyes with their wagging tails and wide smiles.”Stephen Bajwa is from Scotland and volunteered at the Globalteer Peru Dog Project for three months from June to September 2015.
Taking the first steps
I really liked the fact that Globalteer is a non-profit organisation, and after reading some of the testimonials from previous volunteers, it helped me a lot with my decision
It will be difficult to account for all my experiences in the time I spent with Globalteer, as words cannot begin to describe some of the moments I had.
Arriving into Cusco
After my exhausting trip from Scotland to Cusco, I endured a myriad of mixed emotions: excitement, anxiety, apprehension, amongst others. I was met at the Cusco airport by Globalteer’s volunteer coordinator who instantly made me feel welcome and at ease! The next day, I was taken to the dog project to meet the owner, the other volunteers and of course, the dogs. I was met with a fantastic reception from everyone!
Making a difference at the project
The more time I spent at the shelter, the inevitable happened and the more I bonded with the dogs. I began to appreciate how difficult it was to run the project. We had to take care of the dogs every day with the basic feeding and walking requirements and also find time to give the dogs quality attention and affection. On top of that, we had to balance this with the everyday tasks of maintenance and upkeep of the shelter, such as daily cleaning, building fences, and erecting roofs for protection from the sun and the rain. Yes, rain!
It is difficult to think of a favourite thing about the project. I loved and cherished every moment I spent there and actually seeing the appreciation in the dogs eyes with their wagging tails and wide smiles. For me, that's what makes everything worthwhile.
At the weekends, sometimes I assisted with the veterinary campaigns, which offered several services for the health and welfare of pets and street dogs in the surrounding areas of Cusco.
Making doggie friends
My favourite dog was my good friend Paqcho, who had the heart of a lion and the mighty growl of a wolf! And yet he carries himself with all the grace and sensitivity of a wandering butterfly. I cannot explain why, but there was an instant connection with Paqcho and me. The more time I spent with him, the stronger the bond became. In fact, I dedicate this testimonial to him. I will miss him dearly – my friend and my shadow.
One journey ended, but more to come
On one of my last days, the shelter’s beautiful rescue dog called Manzana was adopted, which was a great way to end my volunteer experience. I had the pleasure of escorting her to her new home to meet her new family, and it was a truly wonderful day for everyone involved.
On my journey in Peru, I met a lot of interesting and colourful characters and saw a lot of wonderful places. I look forward to my next adventure, whatever it may be!
I began to feel I was with family as our bond grew - the team spirit was amazing and the work so rewarding
36 year-old Welshman Rhys Parry
volunteered at the Peru Dog Rescue Project for three weeks in October and November 2014. As a teacher and qualified dog psychologist and having already volunteered with animal projects in many parts of the world, he had a good idea of what he was letting himself in for when he applied for a placement with us in Cusco. But even he was blown away by the people and the dogs he met in Peru. You can read all about his experience here...
"Having volunteered with animals - mainly dogs - in Europe, Africa and Asia I was looking for something similar in South America and found Globalteer
and their Peru Dog Rescue Project
on the internet. Globalteer were extremely helpful and answered all my questions and after a pre-arrival call on Skype a week before departure, I was confident and ready to start my adventure.
"The Globalteer team in Cusco helped me settle in immediately upon my arrival, with a tour of Cusco and on the second day I was shown the location of the Globalteer office, where I met the team. Comfortable with my surroundings, accommodation and transport I was eager to start work at the dog shelter. You are very well looked after with Globalteer - your well-being and enjoyment
of the project is very important to them."
Getting stuck in...
"I met Mila, the dog rescue project director, on my second day at the shelter and was greeted with a big smile and a warm welcome. Her passion for the project, her love of the dogs was clearly evident and infectious as I was introduced to the dogs and given a tour of the shelter.
"Over the coming days I began working at the shelter, where we would feed the dogs, clean and take the dogs for walks into the forest with spectacular views of the city from the top. Some days I would spend at the vets where I had the opportunity to assist the vet in surgery
, as she spayed and neutered dogs and cats, which is so important and a crucial part of the project. I would also help with the dogs’ after-care, rehabilitation, leash training and bathing." Bonding with my new family
"Not one day was the same and some days could be tough and very emotional
, but this brought us closer together. I was made to feel an integral part of the team, my opinions and ideas respected and considered and eventually I began to feel I was with family as our bond grew. The team spirit
was amazing and the work so rewarding.
"At weekends I took part in the public campaigns in the city, where we would set up a stall and offer vaccinations
on pet care as well as educating owners on the importance of spaying
, all for a small fee which would be fed back into the project. We would also visit poorer areas where there are a lot of stray dogs
, take food and try to help any that were injured or distressed.
"I have never felt so appreciated and valued at a project as I did at the Peru dog rescue project. Nor have I worked with such an incredible team and amazing people
. I found it extremely difficult to leave, saying goodbye to people who will be my friends for life - their love for simply spending time with the dogs, walking them, feeding them and comforting them really touched me. And of course the dogs, both at the shelter and outside.
"This is one of the most amazing and rewarding experiences of my life
. If you have a love for dogs, a passion for animal welfare I cannot recommend it enough. I loved it so much I got my first tattoo, the logo of Dog Rescue project!"
If you'd like to volunteer at the Peru Dog Rescue Project and change the lives of Cusco's wonderful abandoned dogs, please fill out a volunteer application form
To anyone thinking about coming I would say, just come. Don’t think about it too much. It’s the best thing I have ever done.
23 year-old Theo Tai from Cambridgeshire in England had recently qualified as an audio engineer but was working as a waiter when he thought, ‘that’s it, I have to do something different’.
Despite never having owned a dog – he had made do with “small pets” like goldfishes and hamsters as a child - Theo had always wanted one and that, coupled with his belief that helping the less fortunate is just “the right thing to do” meant that volunteering ticked a lot of boxes. So he started saving and in October 2013 he became Globalteer’s first ever volunteer at the Peru Dog Rescue Project
just outside Cusco.
We asked Theo what made him why he chose Globalteer and to tell us a bit about his experience volunteering in Peru
. This is what he told us.
“I chose Globalteer for lots of reasons. Because everything was explained really clearly on the website, where the money goes - I particularly like that Globalteer is a registered charity
- because they don’t try to advertise volunteering as a holiday which was important to me. This was about working
and helping out, not having a holiday!
Other organisations also seemed more interested in just getting my money
than in what I would achieve as a volunteer – for myself and for the project. Globalteer wasn’t like that at all.
“The Globalteer set up here in Cusco is really good too. You are met at the airport, I was taken up to the project by a member of Globalteer staff - that really put me at my ease
- and although you are thrown in at the deep end, there is always someone there to help if you need them.” You really do make a big difference
“It has been an eye-opening experience
– even just getting the bus to the project each day, through really poverty-stricken areas. I feel like I have actually done something to contribute at the project too. You really do make a big difference
- to the dogs and to the people helping at the project. It looks like it’s really tough work but the Project Director is very relaxed and she understands how it can be hard work, especially early on at this high altitude - and is very flexible. She is happy for you sit down, chill out and take a rest whenever you need to. But you really want to just keep on working!”
Apart from the work being quite tough at times, Theo was pleasantly surprised by the variety of tasks he got involved in and was impressed by the project’s strategic approach
to its goals.
“I have done way more than I ever thought I would. It is hard work – taking food and water to the project, lugging building materials like these really heavy adobe bricks up the hill to make improvements to the project. I have helped to deliver and resuscitate a litter of puppies
, and I am going to assist at a neutering operation too (all done by a qualified vet). And if there are no volunteers the project director has to do it all herself or rely her friends. She is amazing. I’ve never met anyone with so much determination nor with so much passion.
“I love the two prong approach of the project too – caring for the animals and educating people
so they stop abusing them. Going into a school with the project was interesting, not just because it was good to see the project director in action teaching the kids - you know they are sometimes taught that animals feel no pain - but also as it showed me another side to Peruvian life, what schools are like for the kids (Theo went on to volunteer at Globalteer’s Peru Community project after volunteering with the dogs).
“I am not sure if it will have changed me – maybe I will notice more when I go home and see how people take everything for granted
. This kind of experience can make people appreciate what they have more which is a good thing. It is a shock to see people looking for food in the bins, people and kids trying to sell you stuff, anything, for pennies, just to make ends meet. The poverty is in your face, it is everywhere”. Theo’s advice
“To anyone thinking about coming I would say, just come. Don’t think about it too much. It’s the best thing I have ever done. Everything is different
to what you are used to – the food, language, culture, what things cost, the people you will meet…but everyone is really friendly – the other volunteers and the locals And I have always felt really safe here. The Social life
is really good too - every night of the week if you want it. And even if you come here on your own and there are no other volunteers, the dog project director speaks English and she and her friends are all really friendly and really sociable, so it’s hard to feel lonely.
I’m already thinking about doing it again next year…”
If you would like to help Cusco's street dogs and the amazing staff at the Peru Dog Rescue Project, now's a good time to take the first step. Just fill in our Peru Dog Rescue Project application form
and who knows - you could be helping to deliver puppies just like Theo!