I can confidently say volunteering was the best decision of my life and I have already signed up for another 12 weeks in Bali with someone I met on the trip. I was a very anxious person before going but I believe this trip has helped settle it. I’ve become so much more confident, I feel I learned so much from the people volunteering at the dog shelter, the dogs, everyone I met, and just from being in Greece for so long. I got to immerse myself in their lifestyle which was very different but amazing. I constantly pushed myself out of my comfort zone and in return it was the most rewarding and impactful trip of my life.
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 £871 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.
Greece photo gallery
What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience
IVHQ did an amazing job with their guidance and preparation resources, I hope to work with them again. The local team did exceptional work. Their communication and organization were outstanding, making it easy for volunteers to contribute effectively.
Volunteering at a dog shelter in Greece was an incredibly rewarding experience. The opportunity to work closely with the shelter's dedicated staff and the dogs in their care left a lasting impression on me. The shelter staff exhibited an unwavering commitment to the well-being of the dogs. Their passion and tireless efforts to provide food, shelter, and love to these animals were evident every day. Their dedication to creating a safe and nurturing environment for the dogs was truly inspiring.
During my time there, I had the chance to engage in various tasks, from feeding and grooming the dogs to taking them for walks and providing socialization. It was heartwarming to witness the positive changes in the dogs' behavior and demeanor as they received attention and care. Overall, my time volunteering at the dog shelter in Greece was a life-changing experience, thanks in large part to the incredible local staff, and IVHQ, and their dedication. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of this meaningful endeavor, and I hope to return in the future to continue supporting their vital work.
It's a life changing experience and really boosts confidence, I feel so much more confident!
Thank you to our Program Manager for helping us and answering all of our questions! The program is a wonderful way to meet people around the world and discover a new country and culture!
The trip helped me learn lots. I'm much more likely to fit into another country and it gave me the eagerness to go abroad again.
My coordinator was very helpful and answered all my questions when needed. I was able to make new friends and explore a different culture. I feel more independent and confident about doing something like this again.
To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.
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
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:
|Breakfast typically begins and is self-service.
|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).
|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. Experience the ultimate blend of comfort, community, and cultural exchange. Just a stone’s throw away from the nearest metro station and a short drive from the iconic Acropolis, the hostel is the perfect base for your volunteering adventure.
Immerse yourself in the lively neighborhood, brimming with amenities such as supermarkets, quaint coffee shops, bustling bars, convenient ATMs, and all transportation means. Expect cozy accommodations shared with up to eleven other people per room, complete with air conditioning for comfort. There are two well-maintained shared bathrooms on each floor to ensure convenience, while bedding and towels are provided for your ease. There are staff who clean the accommodation throughout the week; however, volunteers are required to keep their rooms tidy. Each volunteer is provided with their own locker.
The communal areas, including a spacious dining hall/warm lounge, a fully equipped communal kitchen, inviting backyard, and an expansive terrace, celebrate the different cultures and stories that arrive at the hostel. This vibrant space is a hub of social inclusion and sustainability, offering a welcoming atmosphere where guests from around the globe can connect. The hostel extends occupational opportunities to migrants and refugees in Athens, embodying a spirit of community empowerment. Its decor, an ode to sustainable living, features charming second-hand furnishings and supports local, ethical businesses.
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.
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.
|£871 Equivalent to £62/day
|£1170 Equivalent to £56/day
|£1469 Equivalent to £52/day
|£1768 Equivalent to £51/day
|£2067 Equivalent to £49/day
|£2665 Equivalent to £48/day
|£3263 Equivalent to £47/day
|£3861 Equivalent to £46/day
- 24/7 in-country support
- In-country program orientation
- Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
- Airport pick-up
- Personalised preparation tools, guides and check lists
- Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
- Certificate of International Volunteer Service
- All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately £273) 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 GBP.
- 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
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.