This volunteer project takes place in Cusco, Peru, where you can find thousands of stray dogs out on the streets. Although this may sound great to many of us, unfortunately, dogs like these are viewed as a plague by locals and are often killed as a result to try and reduce the population. However, what many locals are unaware of are the options to spade or neuter dogs. The dog shelter project in Cusco aims to take in stray or injured dogs and neuter as an alternative method of controlling the population. Their aim is to rescue, rehabilitate and eventually find a loving new home for the stray dogs of Cusco, with the project having successfully taken in over 3000 dogs over the past ten years!
At the dog shelter in Cusco there are several activities you can do as a volunteer. Apart from feeding and playing with the dogs in the woods, they also need help with improving the shelter itself, going out on the streets to rescue sick/pregnant street dogs, going to the veterinarian and even assisting in medical campaigns in the communities around Cusco and helping to educate people about how to treat their pets. The work is never the same and they are always looking for help from dedicated volunteers.
Volunteers work on this project only in the afternoon from 2 to 5 pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. It is optional to join any medical campaigns on Saturdays/Sundays. No Spanish skills are required, but the minimum duration is 2 weeks. It is recommended that volunteers bring clothes that they do not mind getting dirty.
Cusco, or Qosqo, used to be the capital of the Inca empire and now represents the centre of Quechua indigenous culture. It is a World Heritage site where visitors can sense the layers of history with Incan and Colonial monuments and ruins side by side both in the city, as well as in the Andes mountains of the Cusco region.
Popular places such as Machu Picchu, Cusco and the Sacred Valley trails are all well-known sights and visited by most visitors coming to Peru. However, the country is full of places to discover from the wilderness of the Amazon rainforest and the thousands year old cave paintings in the Sumbay caves near Arequipa, to the ancient fortress Kuélap in the green mountains, and the mysterious Nazca lines in the desert.
Volunteers have two accommodation options when volunteering in Cusco. One is home-stay with a local family with a private bedroom, internet and full board. The other is a private bedroom in a shared apartment that includes only the internet and no meals. No smoking or pets are allowed inside any of the accommodation options.
Home-stay with a local family in Cusco:
A local guest family is the best option if you want to practice your Spanish and get a better understanding of Peruvian culture. The host families are middle-class families. They can give you a good idea of everyday life in Peru in a nice and safe environment. You will have your own bedroom and you will share the rest of the house with the family. Mostly, the family do not speak English or only at a very basic level. So that way you will be ‘forced’ to practice your Spanish in this way. Normally you will eat three times a day with the family. However, you have the liberty to go wherever you want and are not obliged to share every meal with the family. Please let us know if you have a preference (e.g. non-smoker, no pets, dietary requirements etc.), and we will try to arrange accordingly. Staying with a host family is the most popular accommodation option for short and medium-term (2 weeks to about 2 months) stays in Cusco.
Shared Apartment in Cusco:
It is also possible to stay in a shared apartment while volunteering. The apartments are located in Lucrepata and Limacpama, which are both safe neighbourhoods close to the centre, where the Spanish School is also located.The apartments are completely furnished. The living room has cable-TV, DVD and a dining area and a fully equipped kitchen (refrigerator, stove with oven, microwave, etc.). You will share the apartment with some fellow students/volunteers, but you will have your own private bedroom. The volunteers would be responsible for their own meals. Staying in an apartment is the most popular accommodation option for mid and long-term stays.
Dates and Costs
Volunteers can join any of the projects in Peru for 2 weeks up to 6 months throughout the year.
It is mandatory for you to take out travel and medical insurance for the duration of the project. If you decide to take part in activities considered more extreme/adventurous, please add this to your insurance policy, as you will be required to demonstrate your insurance coverage before participation.