Volunteering and travelling the world

We wanted to help voluntarily already in Hamburg, but there it was not so easy. Funny thing, but there are far too many dog walkers there. The situation is different in animal welfare organizations abroad. Here there is often a lack of helping hands. In the animal shelter Arche Noha in Tenerife we had the first time actively accepted a volunteer position and it was the best start we could have wished for! Here you can find out how and why we became active in animal welfare, how you might find a suitable organization and how Nelly came to us.

Jo füttert einen Hund aus dem Tierheim. Im Hintergrund die Arche Noah Teneriffa.

Volunteering and travelling the world

If you want to be happy in life contribute to the happiness of others. Because the love we give, returns to your own heart — Marie Calm

During our trip through Spain, we saw dogs for sale for the first time in a pet store. It was obvious that the animals were not well there. Out of this sad and helpless situation came the desire to help them.

But how? Jo did a lot of research on the internet and found several animal shelters in Portugal, Spain and the Canary Islands, which we contacted to ask about volunteer opportunities. We found that simply asking is often the best option. There are many organizations on the internet that convey that you have to spend several thousand euros for volunteering. This is not the case! Of course, there are also special organizations that may pay for accommodation, food, etc. with the costs, but there are other ways. In the meantime we have experienced it several times. The first contact person who answered us was Anna. Her answer was so warm that we quickly decided to spend the winter on the Canary Islands, especially Tenerife at their shelter.

For four weeks we were allowed to be part of something that is worth more than all the treasures of this world. Getting up early was part of everyday life again, we cleaned up countless dog poop and got aching feet from walking the dogs. But most of all we experienced so much fun and joy that we didn’t want to stop. It was nice to cuddle with Carlos, for example, or to run an extra lap with Filomeno. The gratitude and joy we got back for this is indescribable.

Our time at Ache Noah Teneriffa felt like being welcomed into a big family. We were allowed to park our little blue bus on the grounds, which later became a free-range enclosure, and we were allowed to stay there as well. We got along very well with the other volunteers. Most of them lived in the main house (the finca) and each had their own room. The bathroom and kitchen were shared, and we were also grateful to always be able to enjoy a refreshing shower after work.

Our day started at 8:00 in the morning. We prepared food, cleaned and then went for a walk with the dogs. We also built a small agility park to give the dogs small challenges that they could master together with us. The dogs’ reactions were incredible. Even the most anxious among them really blossomed, and excited dogs were able to focus on the new tasks.

Jo practices with a dog in the self-made Agility Park.
Jo practices with a dog in the self-made Agility Park.

But not only the four-legged friends, we also learned an incredible amount here. For example, a dog from foreign protection does not always have to be an unknown case. Or an adult street dog. And, that black dogs and cats have a harder time finding homes. But we also learned a lot about ourselves. Working here made us think and showed us how much we love working with animals, teaching them and having adventures together.

Working in animal shelters and getting involved in animal welfare have become part of our travel adventures, and it all started right here: At Arche Noah Teneriffa. We would like to say a big thank you to the whole team and all the volunteers.

Oh, and there is something special! During our stay we adopted Nelly, our second dog. She has become an integral part of our little travel pack and keeps us on our toes with her playful nature. Through her, a little piece of Arche Noah will always travel with us!

Do you also want to start volunteering? Then just get in touch with Noah's Ark Tennerife and start your volunteering on the Canary Island!