Volunteering at PAWS-PATAS in Los Gallardos, Spain
Please read this information carefully so there are no unexpected surprises!!
- Would you like to work with abandoned dogs and cats? In a country where animal welfare is often not a priority. Where shelters are depending on volunteers and donations and receives no statutory funding?
- Would you like to work as a volunteer and really make a difference by helping those who cannot help themselves?
- Come and join us at PAWS-PATAS, our shelter near Los Gallardos in the south east of Spain.
This is what PAWS-PATAS is all about
Xander was left on the doorstep of one of our volunteers in a very bad condition. Six months later Xander travelled to one of our adoption partners in the Netherlands and was quickly placed.
Bryan was so weak when he was discovered 50 meters from the shelter, that we had to carry him in. He was very malnourished and underweight. After months of treatment lots of good food and love, he is doing very well with his new family in England.
The shelter consist of a Cattery and a Kennel area. Each run by their own manager and a team of dedicated local volunteers who reports to the Shelter manager. On average we have 80 dogs and 20 cats in our care. We are also greatly assisted by our foster carers who look after animals for whom there are no space at our kennels.
We work a morning shift (9.00 am – 1.30 pm) and an afternoon shift (3.00 pm – 6.00 pm). These times can change depending on how many animals we have in our care. The daily duties consist of cleaning kennels and the cattery, feeding, providing fresh water and medicines and bonding.
The common language in the shelter is English, but people from all over the world work here. You must be able to speak, read and write English to a high standard to understand instructions.
Our shelter is located 100 km north of Almería and 200 km south of Alicante on the South East coast of Spain. It is close to villages like Mojácar, Los Gallardos, Vera and Garrucha and about 10 kilometres from the coast. The location is fairly remote (very little is within walking distance). If they do have time and if you ask them in advance our team of local volunteers are willing to take you to a supermarket, the beach or a market on your days off if you don’t have your own transport. When nobody is available, you may need to get a taxi to and from the shelter. Approx fee to the beach is 16 €. We also have a few bicycles available at the shelter which can be used to go shopping in the nearest village of Turre.
You can fly to Murcia and then catch the 72B bus to Cartagena then change to the VAC-228 to Vera bus station where we can pick you up. The bus travel time to Vera is about four and a half hours, and the fares should be around €10, or we can arrange a pickup at the airport for 30€ per one way (fuel/parking costs). You have to pay directly to the person picking you up.
You can fly to Alicante and from there take the bus (www.alsa.es) to Murcia and from Murcia to Vera bus station where we can pick you up (costs of the bus ticket approximately 15,00 € ).
You can also fly to Almeria. That is nearer to the shelter and for € 25,00 per one way (fuel costs) we can pick you up from the airport. You have to pay directly to the person who is picking you up. There is also a private bus connecting which connects with flights from the UK, Belgium and Holland (see http://www.exclusiveairportshuttles.co.uk) and takes you from Almeria airport to Los Gallardos for 18 €.
If possible we would like you to arrive at and depart from the shelter between 8.30 am and 7 pm! Outside these hours there will be no manager available to greet you and it will be more difficult to find somebody to pick you up and take you shopping.
We have two mobile homes (Casa Lady and Casa Henry) which you might share with other volunteers. We also have a touring caravan (Casa Ariana) and a separate small studio (Casita Vista).
We have two shower rooms with a sink, shower, toilet, washing machine and refrigerator.
You can stay in the accommodation when you work 5 days a week. Costs of tickets, groceries etc. are at your own expense. We do ask a contribution of 10,00 € per person per week for water/electricity/maintenance/reparations etc. for the accommodation that needs to be paid in cash upon arrival.
During a normal working week you will usually get 4 shifts off each week, either full days or part days, depending on the number of animals in our care and how many volunteers we have.
The minimum stay is 3 weeks and we now ask for a deposit of 50€ of which 25€ will be used to thoroughly clean the accommodation once you have left and the other 25€ will be refunded, provided there are no major breakages or misuse of appliances. Please note, if you leave earlier than originally booked, you will not receive a refund.
- Bring plenty of suitable work clothing (you will get wet and dirty)
- Bring good solid waterproof shoes (no flip flops!)
- Consider bringing earplugs (the dogs can bark at night)
- We advise you to get a tetanus injection in advance
- If you would like to receive mail, it can be sent to:
< < your name >>
04638 Mojácar Playa
Things to consider
PAWS-PATAS is a working shelter, volunteering for us is not a holiday. It is hard work, especially in the heat of the summer!
The shelter is not connected to mains water and water is delivered to us by a truck as and when needed. Although we take every precaution not to run out of water it might happen occasionally that we are without water for a short period of time. Make sure that you have bottled drinking water at all times.
Volunteers will be trained in the way we expect them to work. Although we welcome suggestions and questions we expect all volunteers to work to our protocol and standards and to treat our staff with respect. They are also volunteers who give their time all year around to help our animals!
If you enjoy meeting new people, care about the welfare of animals, have common sense and initiative and are willing to work hard and get dirty, you will fit in fine! Not only will you be a great help to us, you will leave with memories to last a lifetime and like many of our volunteers, will want to come back again and again!
Rules & Regulations
Hygiene and safety
- Please keep caravan + outside space + shower rooms clean and tidy. Make a rota if necessary to share the duties with other volunteers
- Do not leave food or drinks outside as it attracts vermin
- You can put your bin bags in the garbage bins. Please tighten them well
- During work and absence please lock caravan door to protect your valuables
- When something in the caravan breaks or does not function properly, please report to the team leader on duty asap
- Wear suitable clothing and footwear during work (no flip flops!) We recommend Crocs or something similar
- Please lock the main gates at night
- When you are out and during the night, please close the gas bottle (flip black tap on top)
- Visitors at the gate? Please call for team leader to speak to them
- Please download this very useful app, Alert Cops, for the duration of your visit to Spain
- All accidents must be reported and recorded in the accident book
- Animals are not allowed in the caravans
- Do not accept animals from people at the gate
- Do not pick up animals from the street and bring them in to the shelter
- When you find a dog tied to the gate, put the dog with a bowl of water in one of the holding pens lined with newspapers and a towel in it until the team leader on duty arrives. Wear apron, gloves at all times and touch the animals as little as possible
- Please be social, friendly and helpful towards the other volunteers
- If you would like to do something on your day off, please contact one of the volunteer drivers well in advance. However this may not always be possible so you need to be prepared to walk, cycle or get a taxi
- Visitors (people who are not staying on the shelter are not allowed on the premises outside opening hours). The shelter is open from Tuesday – Saturday 10.00 am – 2.00 pm and is closed to the public on Sundays.
- Excessive use of alcohol and any use of recreational drugs is strictly forbidden on the premises.
- PAWS-PATAS has a no smoking policy. Smoking, including e-cigarettes, is only allowed in designated areas. It is not allowed in the main shelter, any accommodation or at the coffee table during meetings. Smokers are asked to be considerate of others at all times
- If there are any questions/remarks/problems, please report to the team leader and not to other persons, so we can take immediate action if necessary
- Volunteers are required to sign a volunteer contract, agreeing to abide by shelter requirements and respecting the welfare of both people and animals.
- During the first week the volunteer learns how the shelter operates and becomes familiar with responsibilities and tasks within the different sections, as well as the organisation of the shelter overall. During training the volunteers will be required to shadow another volunteer, either another international volunteer or one of our local volunteers.
- International volunteers commit to work morning and afternoon shifts.
- Duties will include the feeding, cleaning , medication and the general care of our animals.
- Most of the tasks are physical.
- Volunteers are also required to keep the premises clean, tidy and attractive.
- Some tasks do not include direct animal interaction, and relate to the general upkeep of the shelter.