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Save The Animals Project

Save The Animals (Atenas)

Embrace your love of animals in Costa Rica
orphans having food
  • Work alongside a local animal rescue group
  • Assist in local events
  • Provide love and attention to abandoned animals
  • Volunteer abroad safely & affordably

Project Summary

There are many abandoned animals in Costa Rica due to illness, poverty or a lack of love. The local animal rescue group is called "Pro Ayuda del Animal Abandonado Atenas" ("To help Abandoned Animals in Atenas") or shorter, Animals Atenas. This group's members host recued animals in their homes until they can place them in new homes. One private home currently has 17 dogs and there are several homes like this. This group often sponsors neutering programs to help fight the increase of street animals. They need help with maintenance, feeding and washing the animals, helping them to re-socialize and train them. They also have a site at the farmer's market on Fridays to encourage animal adoption.

Skills/Qualifications Needed

Beginner to intermediate knowledge of Spanish is preferred (but not mandatory). If you cannot speak Spanish, we suggest you enroll in our Spanish language course to make your stay more rewarding – both for you and for the children you are helping. Love for animals. Volunteers are expected to be reliable and flexible.

Volunteer Responsibilities

Shelter volunteers work directly with the animals, walking them, teaching them leash-behavior, brushing them, bathing them and giving them love and attention.


In Costa Rica, all volunteers stay with well-screened host families. Our host families are socially respected and are well versed in the art of hosting international volunteers. Host families offer a safe home, private rooms (occasionally rooms will be shared with other same-gender volunteers) and shared bathroom facilities with running hot water and a “western” style toilet. Volunteers have the ability to do laundry at the house or the host family may offer to do it for you for a nominal extra fee. You receive three prepared meals per day. If you will be out of the house during lunch hour, you can request a lunch "to go" that you can take with you or eat out on your own. Host families provide typical meals that are traditional to Costa Rica.

Throughout the volunteer project, our local staff stays in contact with volunteers either with face-to-face visits or via email/telephone. With longer placements, we visit our volunteers every two weeks (when possible) and volunteers are always welcome at the local office. If project placement is local, we request that volunteers stop by the office once a week to keep us posted on how they are doing with their home stay and project. If project placement is very far, then our local staff members maintain communication by either email and/or phone.