Volunteer Spotlight: Stephen

“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!