How Expats Can Volunteer to Help Animals in Need
Expats around the world can volunteer their time to help look after cats, dogs and domestic animals badly in need of care
Regardless of how seasoned a traveler or veteran an expat you might be, there are always some things about home you miss and the pets you can’t bring with you may be chief among them. If you are missing your animal companions whilst abroad, a good way to fill the gap might be to volunteer with local animal charities and shelters. Some of the more exotic overseas destinations have people from all over the world applying to help, eager to look after glamorous creatures, such as dolphins or elephants. The cats, dogs and domestic animals in such locations are often overlooked and are very much in need of someone to give them a hand. Animal shelters are also a fantastic way to make local and expat friends in a new location, or a great way to occupy the day for expat spouses who may feel at a loose end.
Volunteering is always a great idea and here are a few key points and resources to consider before starting searching for the shelter that’s best for you:
The internet is a fantastic resource, and there are international organizations, such as the Humane Society and the International Fund for Animal Welfare that provide extensive contacts for shelters around the world. However, do not overlook the old-fashioned resources of just asking someone! If you are still at home, drop by your local shelter and see if they have a contact in your destination country. If you are already there, look on local message boards, or ask any locals you may be talking to about what happens to rescued animals.
If you know of a shelter near you, call them or look them up online. Whilst a willingness to help is admirable, you should keep in mind what kind of environment you are prepared to deal with. Shelters have very different policies on euthanizing animals should they not be able to find homes for them, and bigger facilities specializing in abused animals may be quite an emotionally taxing experience. If at all possible, contact former volunteers, and see what their experiences were like. Most reputable shelters will be happy to put you in touch with or provide references from former volunteers.
Do a little homework
A lot of shelters will provide some basic on-the-job training for their volunteers, but the professionals are likely to be busy enough with the daily running of the place. Spending a little time with a good introductory veterinary manual may acquaint you with a few first aid techniques, or enable you to diagnose animals that have potentially life-threatening ailments. You won’t be an expert, but you might be able to spot something the full time staff are too busy to see. Many shelters can’t afford extensive treatment, so diagnosing problems early will be a big help to the animals.
In all but the biggest shelters, resources are always precious, so going with as much of your own equipment as you can will be useful. Provide your own (easily washed) work clothes, disinfectant sanitizers, soaps and wipes. Getting in contact with the shelter ahead of time is recommended, as they can direct you towards the sort of material that you might be able to provide, including such basic things as good quality leashes and collars.
In order to help you get started, here is a list of the biggest and most active animal shelters in a few Move One countries:
Animal shelters in Budapest:
Animal shelters in Kuwait City:
Animal shelters in Shanghai:
Move One’s Pet Transportation department specializes in the transportation of household pets, working dogs and exotic animals. If you would like advice about internationally relocating your pet safely, sanely and legally or just for further information about our general pet relocation services, please contact us at email@example.com. One of our dedicated animal relocation agents will get back to you shortly with information, advice and a quote tailor-made to your needs.
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