Getting a gap yah experience on a budget.
You’re just back from your dairy EMS placement. It’s 10am, and you’ve been awake and working for 8 hours. Before you shower the flecks of probably-crypto-infected-cow turd from your hair, you scroll through Instagram only to be confronted with yet another summer holiday pic from a non-vet friend.
But you needn’t be (too) jealous. Because one charity in Portugal have made it possible for you to have the trip of a lifetime and still get that all-important husbandry experience.
Animal Rescue Algarve, a dog and cat shelter based in the south of Portugal:
Ø take volunteers for up to 3 weeks at a time
Ø offer you a daily lunch break of over 6 hours
Ø offer you unlimited use of a huge swimming pool with mountain views
Ø offer you accommodation with air con (!!) and a balcony
Ø FOR FREE
You may think you read that wrong, but you didn’t. To enjoy a week in Portugal, working 7:30 am-10:30 am and 5pm-8pm, I paid £200. £120 was on flights, and £80 was on food, drinks, trips to the town and beach, and airport transfers. In August.
Flights from London can be as cheap as £20, especially if you choose to go over winter or easter holidays instead of summer months. The shelter can accommodate around 10 volunteers, (usually travellers and gap year students aged between 18 and 30), who will soon feel like family. The “work” is just kennel cleaning and dog walking- and you can cuddle dogs as much as you like in your time off between 10:30 and 5. A Cat house is under construction and soon volunteers will be able to focus on both cats and dogs or just cats. You can choose to take part or organise group activities, like taking the puppies into the pool, or taking dogs to the beach- or just going off for lunch with your new mates. Did I mention that it’s free? Not only this, but working at the shelter was the most rewarding experience of my EMS so far. The shelter is run by an amazing team, who are so kind and grateful for your work you’ll never want to leave. The brilliant organisation mean that the dogs are some of the happiest and most relaxed I’ve ever seen at a shelter- and their setup should be a model for any charity.
The charity is desperate for volunteers, donations, ambassadors and any other help they can get. If you want the chilliest EMS week ever, a cheap trip to Portugal or just to give them a hand from home, please get in touch by email : firstname.lastname@example.org