Animal Care Volunteer Program in Greece - Athens
Want to volunteer with dogs and cats in Greece - Athens? International Volunteer HQ’s Animal Care project is based in an animal shelter in Athens that provides a safe space for abandoned and rescued animals. As an animal shelter volunteer in Greece, you’ll help care for, feed, socialize and look after these dogs and cats so that they can find a new and loving home. You may also have the chance to support adoption events and campaigns, and take photos of the animals to support re-homing efforts.
- Programs start every first and third Monday of the month
- Affordable fees from CA$1371 for 2 weeks
- Includes accommodation, meals, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
Help abandoned animals find a permanent, loving home
Discover Athens’ ancient ruins, history and culture
Stay at a sustainable hostel in the heart of Athens
This program is ideal for:
What to expect and how you'll make an impact
This program is an amazing opportunity to support local organizations that take care of our furry four-legged friends that have been lost or abandoned.
In 2017 research showed that there are approximately 3.8 million stray cats and dogs throughout Greece. In fact, in Athens alone, it is estimated that there are almost 2 million stray cats and dogs. The high number of abandoned cats and dogs make these shelters indispensable! The shelters are often overcrowded and under-resourced, making them heavily dependent on volunteers to manage the day-to-day tasks.
A big part of your job is to socialise with the animals. Many of the animals that are in the shelters may have a past of trauma and violence, indifference and illnesses. It’s our mission to make them feel loved, to stimulate them, and build trust in people again. Moreover, the goal of these shelters is to ensure the well-being of the animals and to improve their behaviour as it enables them to be more social with people so that they can then be adopted and loved by a new permanent family later.
Your assistance and support to the local staff and volunteers will be of great importance, in order to keep the shelter running smoothly, ensuring all dogs and cats get attention and that the place is well maintained and clean.
Your tasks will vary day-to-day but can include:
- Playing and socializing with the dogs and cats
- Feeding the dogs and cats
- Cleaning them and their houses/ sand boxes
- Going on long walks with the dogs in the mountain area or in the city
- Supporting adoption events, campaigns and charitable bazaars
- Taking photos and videos of the dogs to help promote adoption
As you will be volunteering with the support of a local team and placement staff, you do not need to be qualified or experienced to participate on this project.
Why do Animal Care volunteering in Athens with IVHQ?
When you volunteer on the Animal Care project in Athens you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:
- Learning about how animal shelters in Greece operate
- Directly helping abandoned animals find loving homes
- Developing your communication skills
- Gaining experience working with dogs
- Immersing yourself in Greek culture
- Discovering the ancient history of Athens
Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate in this program. If you are under the age of 18, IVHQ offers alternative volunteer opportunities for teens. Visit our High School Volunteer Abroad page to learn more.
Volunteers must speak fluent English. All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a recent criminal background check to IVHQ after registering on the program.
Are you eligible to volunteer?
Submit a free application so we can confirm your eligibility and check availability for your preferred dates.Apply For Free
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Academic course credit
Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing a volunteer abroad program with International Volunteer HQ!Learn about course credit
”Just go! You only live once. If you want to travel you need to embrace both the struggles and beauty of another country. This experience made me feel incredibly grateful for my lifestyle at home. The staff at the animal shelter were very helpful and kind. The meals were huge! I never went hungry and it was convenient to never have to think about finding a meal.”
Read reviews from Animal Care volunteers in AthensSee more reviews
The IVHQ Greece program is based in Athens, the country’s largest and capital city, as well as one of the world’s oldest cities! Famous for its art, philosophy and culture, you’ll have the chance to step back through time and witness fascinating museums, historic sculptures and ancient ruins up to 5,000 years old.
There are plenty of awesome viewpoints around Athens, from which you can admire the city’s architectural gems, labyrinthe of streets and charming taverns. Or you can soak up the sun on the city’s beaches and nearby islands. Don’t forget to treat your taste buds to the local Mediterranean cuisine - you can’t beat a Greek salad!
Arrival and orientation
The Greece volunteer program begins on the first and third Monday of each month and you will need to arrive in Athens on the Sunday before your chosen start date.
After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at Athens International Airport (ATH). The cost of your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee. When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and taken to the volunteer accommodation. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.
If you are traveling in Greece prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up from a meeting point in Athens on the Sunday before your program start date. You are also free to make your own way to the volunteer accommodation.
On Monday, orientation is hosted by our local team in Greece and runs for a full day. Orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Athens – an introduction to Greece, culture and customs, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities, and an introduction to your project and placement as well as a tour of the local area. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.
Volunteer schedule example
After the initial orientation, you will have a morning, afternoon or evening shift at your placement and will work for approximately 3 to 5 hours per day. A typical morning schedule is as follows:
|8.00 AM||Breakfast typically begins and is self-service.|
|8:30 AM||Travel to placement to join local placement staff and begin work on your project. Please note that start times and daily workload depends on the project that you are participating in - some placements run in the afternoon and volunteers on these placements will have the morning free to use as they wish or to attend Greek language lessons.|
|2.30 PM - 3.30 PM||Lunch is served at the accommodation or at your placement. After lunch, you will continue your volunteer work (where applicable).|
|4:00 PM||Volunteers with afternoon or evening shifts travel to placement to join local staff and begin work on their project. Please note that start times and daily work load depend on the project you are participating in.|
|8.00 PM - 9.00 PM||Dinner at the volunteer accommodation. After dinner you will have the remainder of the evening free to relax and use as you wish.|
Please note that this schedule will vary depending on the needs of your particular project.
Volunteers have the weekends free and there is no shortage of great things to see and do in Athens, wider Greece and the surrounding Greek Islands.
Accommodation and WiFi
Volunteers are accommodated in a dormitory-style hostel conveniently located in the heart of Athens. Only a 4 minute walk from Omonia Square, where the second most central metro stop is, and a 30 minute walk to Acropolis. The neighborhood offers many amenities, supermarkets, bars, local coffee shops, ATMS’s, shopping malls and all transportation means. The airport is just 45 minutes away via public transportation.
Bedding is provided in the accommodation. There are staff who clean the accommodation throughout the week however, volunteers are required to keep their rooms tidy. The hostel features air conditioned rooms, a bar area, shared lounge and terrace, and a communal kitchen for those who may want to cook.
You can expect to be accommodated in a room with up to nine other people. Each room has its own bathroom and air conditioning. You will have your own locker to store valuables. You will need to bring your own small padlock or you can rent one from the reception for €3. You will also need to bring your own towel.
WiFi is available at the volunteer accommodation and is free of charge. Please note that the signal may be weaker in some areas. There is also WiFi available at many cafes and restaurants in the area. To keep connected, the local team will provide you with a free local SIM card that you can activate to purchase mobile data for an unlocked mobile phone.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided at the hostel every day.
The menu consists of local food, a mixture of meat, fish, and fresh vegetables, so volunteers can try various meals made in Greek style every day. The hostel can cater to a variety of diets such as vegan and vegetarian, gluten-free, and lactose intolerant.
Breakfast is served buffet style and includes cereal, yogurt, seasonal fruits, jams, honey, bread, cakes/cookies, milk, tea, coffee, juices, eggs, and cheese.
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
|2 weeks||CA$1371 Equivalent to CA$98/day|
|3 weeks||CA$1891 Equivalent to CA$90/day|
|4 weeks||CA$2412 Equivalent to CA$86/day|
|5 weeks||CA$2932 Equivalent to CA$84/day|
|6 weeks||CA$3452 Equivalent to CA$82/day|
|8 weeks||CA$4493 Equivalent to CA$80/day|
|10 weeks||CA$5534 Equivalent to CA$79/day|
|12 weeks||CA$6575 Equivalent to CA$78/day|
- 24/7 in-country support
- In-country program orientation
- Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
- Airport pick-up
- Personalized preparation tools, guides and check lists
- Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
- Certificate of International Volunteer Service
Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.
- All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately CA$462) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services. IVHQ fees are priced in USD but you may elect to pay in CAD.
- A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
- Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, public transport to and from your placement each day and return to the airport when your program finishes.
- Recommended spending money: Volunteers on Athens based projects generally find US$100 to be sufficient for basic weekly expenses, including transportation and miscellaneous spending.
- Any changes or cancellations within 14 days of your start date are subject to a US$200 late change/cancellation fee.
Check what's required to visit Greece
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Safety and support
IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.
- All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
- All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
- All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
- All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Essential country information
Weather and climate
The climate in Greece is a very typical Mediterranean climate: mild and rainy winters and hot and dry summers with long periods of sunshine and no rain.