"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 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, medications and advice on pet care as well as educating owners on the importance of spaying and neutering, 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 today!