At a glance
Volunteer with stray animals in Belize on this Animal Care Project. You’ll work with the only non-profit, non-governmental animal shelter in San Pedro. You’ll gain experience handling animals, which is useful if you’re looking to pursue a career in veterinary medicine or other jobs where you work with animals.
The work you do will help prepare dogs and cats for adoption. The shelter where we work is understaffed, so volunteers are crucial to making sure the animals are well taken care of. Seeing an animal go from living on the street in terrible conditions to recovering and finding a home is a rewarding experience. You might not be there for every part of this process, but the work you do will play an important role in giving these animals a second chance.
This project is based in San Pedro, a small coastal town on the island of Ambergris Caye. When you’re not helping at the shelter, you can spend time relaxing on the beach or sampling local cuisine at a seaside restaurant.
Completely flexible datesSee Dates
Anyone aged 16 or over can join
Is volunteering with animals in Belize right for me?
This project is perfect for you if you love animals and are passionate about creating a better life for strays. You’ll be working directly with dogs and cats and on more practical maintenance tasks. So this is a great opportunity for you if you enjoy doing hands-on work.
You don’t need any specific experience or qualifications to join. The local shelter staff will be there to guide you through your volunteer work. What’s more, you’ll also gain experience working alongside vets. You’ll help with training and handling animals, which will prepare you for a possible career as a veterinarian.
This project runs all year round so you can join whenever it suits your schedule. You can volunteer for a minimum of one week. However, the shelter is understaffed, so the longer you stay, the more support you can give the animals and shelter staff.
What will I do on the Animal Care Project in Belize?
You’ll support the work of local staff at an animal shelter in San Pedro. Here are some of your main tasks:
- Help with exercising, socialising, and training animals
- Observe veterinary procedures carried out by a qualified vet
- Bathe and feed the cats and dogs and help with shelter maintenance
- Raise awareness about animal cruelty in schools and in the community
- Organise fundraising events to raise money for the shelter
Your work with animals in Belize will focus on these activities:
Work with animals
Most of your time will be spent working directly with animals. You’ll help with positive reinforcement training and walking dogs to give them exercise. Even playing with the animals, which doesn’t seem like work at all, will help socialise them and prepare them for adoption.
You’ll also help with basic care like bathing, grooming, and feeding animals.
Observe veterinary procedures
When possible you can observe veterinary procedures. This includes operations like spaying and neutering, which help control the population of stray animals on Ambergris Caye. This is also a great way to see if a career in veterinary medicine is for you.
Contribute to shelter maintenance
The shelter is understaffed and so volunteers provide extra pairs of helping hands to keep it running smoothly. You’ll help with tasks like cleaning kennels and repairing fences. This work helps make sure the animals have a safe, comfortable place to stay before finding a new home.
Raise awareness of animal cruelty
By raising awareness of animal cruelty in schools and throughout the community, you’ll help local people to be more mindful of the way they treat animals. You’ll also talk to them about the importance of animal shelters, and the amazing role they can play in an animal’s life by considering adoption.
If you’re feeling creative, you can even make colourful posters, flyers, or leaflets to use during talks and workshops.
Organise fundraising events
Sharpen your project management skills by helping organise fundraising events. Some examples of events include Halloween pet costume competitions, adoption days, and barbecues. You can brainstorm event ideas, help with planning, and be there on the day to facilitate the event. This is an important part of your project that helps the shelter to continue the great work they do with animals.
Where in Belize will I work?
This project is based in San Pedro, a small town on Ambergris Caye. This is a coastal community next to the Caribbean Sea. During your free time, you can relax on the beach or even go diving through marine reserves along the Belize Barrier Reef.
The animal shelter where you work is underfunded and understaffed, so conditions can be poor. This makes the maintenance work you do even more important. You’ll also work in local schools and run fundraising activities in the local community.
A typical day working with animals in Belize
Your placement work will usually run from 8am to 5pm with a one hour lunch break. You’ll work from Monday to Friday with your weekends free.
You’ll start your day working on general animal care tasks like feeding and bathing animals. You can spend some time playing and interacting with them in between your work.
Then, your supervisor might lead you through a dog training session and you can take some of the dogs out for a scenic walk along the beach.
After lunch, you can observe surgery or work on general maintenance.
In the evenings, you can relax and destress from a busy day by singing karaoke or playing trivia with other volunteers or your host family.
What are the aims and impact of this Animal Care Project?
The main aim of this project is to help find homes for the many stray animals living in San Pedro.
The shelter we work with is understaffed and relies heavily on volunteer support, so you’ll play a key role in caring for animals. This shelter houses and cares for up to around 100 animals and only has three full time employees. Without volunteers, the centre wouldn’t be able to run properly.
Through socialisation and general care, you’ll help make stray animals more adoptable. This will help these animals find loving new homes, giving them a second chance at a happy life. For example, past volunteers worked specifically with a dog who’d been at the shelter for a long time and they managed to help him find a new home within two months.
You’ll also help raise awareness about the importance of caring for strays and how to treat animals. Your awareness campaigns in local schools are particularly important, because you’ll be helping teach children how to care for animals from a young age.
We’ve outlined six main goals for this project, to ensure that we’re working towards a long-term vision. These goals are:
- Prevent cruelty to animals
- Promote kindness to animals
- Reduce overpopulation of animals on the island
- Ensure animals are safe and healthy
- Increase adoptability of animals in the shelter
- Provide consistent human and technical resources to the animal shelter where we work
Join our Animal Care Project in Belize and help us work towards achieving these goals.
Measuring Our Impact
Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.
Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.
Food And Accommodation
You'll stay with a host family in San Pedro. They will welcome you into their home, eager to share their customs and have you teach them about your own culture. We believe that this is the best way to immerse yourself in the culture of Belize and have a truly unique experience.
We will always try to let you live alongside at least one other Projects Abroad volunteer or intern at the same host family. Your room will be modest, but comfortable, clean, and safe.
Your programme fee includes three meals a day.
Find out more about our accommodation.
Leisure Activities And Free Time
Belize is a beautiful tropical country bordered by the clear, blue Caribbean Sea. There are plenty of ways to spend your free time here, whether you’re a beach lover, a culture buff, or an adventure seeker.
During your free time, you can go snorkelling along the colourful Belize Barrier Reef. For a more relaxed atmosphere, you can spend time on one of the white-sand beaches, sipping freshly squeezed papaya juice in the warm sun.
There are also plenty of cultural activities, so you can get a glimpse into the history and heritage of the country. You can visit Mayan ruins or spend the day wandering through an art gallery or museum.
During your trip, you’ll be surrounded by volunteers from around the world. So you can choose to explore independently or with volunteers from our different projects in Belize.
Safety And Staff Support
Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on-hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.
Find out more about safety and backup.
Meet the team in Belize
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