Our mission is to provide a home to animals that have been adandoned or abused, to show them what it is to live in a home where they are loved.

The most obvious benefit to volunteering is low cost travel. However, volunteering is not cheap or free accommodation and it is much more than a work exchange. When you decide to use your holidays to volunteer, you are doing so with the genuine desire to make a difference in a struggling community. Volunteering is where part of your holiday is spent making a difference, offering a diverse array of experiences.

More Benefits

Volunteers are the heart and soul of what we do and without them many of the success stories would never have been possible. We have a volunteer program that not only gives you, the traveller, a more cost effective way to travel more extensively plus an inside view into dog rescue in Costa Rica, it also gives you a chance to benefit the community of your host country.

Accommodation

There are 2 types of accommodation. The first is a bunk bed in a shared room sleeping 4. This room has an en-suite bathroom with a shower shared with the others in the room. Each person has space in the cupboard to store their things.

The second type of accommodation is a private double room. There are 2 private rooms, both have a shared bathroom. With total privacy and space plus all meals included, volunteers can have total privacy from $5 per night. Every cent goes towards the upkeep of the dogs and cats.

What is expected of you

The hours that are expected of you are based on the accommodation you choose or that is available to you. A shared room will require you to work 5 hours a day, 5 days a week. A private room will mean 8 hours a day 5 days a week. If a couple chooses a private room, depending on availability, both need to work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

These options need to be discussed before arriving. Everything is dependent on availability.

Your 5 hours are very seldomly worked as a single block, instead you will find yourself working a couple hours in the morning, an hour during the day and perhaps a couple hours in the afternoon evening.

Vegan food is included in the deal, plus tea and coffee. Anything you may wish to eat that is not on the menu is for your own account. Put your name on it so that other volunteers are aware who it belongs to.

Before arriving you are expected to do a dog training course. Since managing a pack is completely different to managing 2 or 3 dogs, we feel that basic dog training will help you to enjoy your experience more.

What is not included in your work

Cooking is done as a group. We all take chances to cook, clean the kitchen during and afterwards, wash, dry and pack away the dishes. This is not included in your work day.

You are expected to keep your space clean and your bed made. Cleaning up after yourself is also not included in the work expectations and neither is time set aside for eating.

Daily tasks

The first thing that comes to mind when you think 'dog rescue' is saving lots of cuddly pooches and playing with them, walking them, bathing them, etc. But we have found that one of the main tasks is cleaning. Keeping the space clean is of utmost importance when managing so many animals and keeping a health check on them to avoid veterinary costs.

Entertaining the dogs and re-educating them is another top priority. Dogs are crepuscular which means they are active just after breakfast and just before dinner. The rest of the day they sleep. During their active periods it's imperative to keep them entertained. usually a training session with treats goes down very well, sometimes if there are enough volunteers to handle walks, they get to go out for a walk down the street, which they love!

In the afternoons, there is a lot of activity in the street in front of the house with neighbours walking up and down with their dogs or kids. It's a very social element of the neighbourhood. The dogs are in the bad habit of barking at everyone who passes by the front gate. While it is normal for dogs to do this and even ok when there are just 2 or 3 dogs per household, in a pack of dog this level of excitement can become dangerous, annoying and even frustrating when so many dogs bark and howl.

So to keep the peace we patrol the gate area and any dog that rushes up to the gate to bark is squirted with water. In this way we hope to completely kill the bad habit.

What does a typical day look like?

Every day we get up at 5am, put on the rice to make the dog's food and start letting them out 2 dogs at a time to do their business. We prepare the dog's food and they usually eat around 6am. Before feeding the dogs, we mop the floor upstairs and downstairs with bleach to disinfect it. Another preventative health tactic that has worked wonders in keeping vet bills down.

We then fill up the cat food bowls, change water in water bowls and clean cat litter trays.

Once the dogs have finished eating we pick up their bowls, wash and stack them.

The dogs will play until about 9am, again they get to go out after breakfast in small groups, this time around 4 dogs at a time, they play both inside and outside and we make sure that no playing gets out of hand, breaking up dogs that seem to be getting over excited.

The dogs and cats sleep from about 9am - 3pm which gives us time to finish cleaning, rest or work on projects. The dogs all sleep inside and during their rest time they are still rotated with 2 -3 dogs outside at a time to sit in the sun or do their business.

From about 3pm onwards there is a lot of excitement as this is when the street gets busy with families enjoying some afternoon time together. Dogs need to be kept away from the gate and they can practice a couple of tricks or simply be allowed to play.

4pm we start to prepare the dog's food again. They eat around 4:15pm. After dinner they are rotated again. This is the most important rotation as they are most active during this time and it's their last chance to be outside before they go to bed.

6pm they are all inside, their beds are put down and they go to sleep.

For more resources and information on how we live check out It's a Dog's Life

List of duties

  • 5am - put on rice for breakfast.
  • 5:30 am (or first light) - rotate the dogs upstairs and downstairs so they all get a turn to go out and pee first thing in the morning.
  • Sweep and mop upstairs and downstairs, inside and balcony. Clean with a small amount of bleach to disinfect.
  • Prepare the dogs food, feed them, pick up bowls, wash and stack them.
  • Empty all water bowls into pot plants, upstairs and downstairs, wash and refill them.
  • Clean cat litter trays upstairs and downstairs.
  • Rotate the dogs
  • Jet need to be taken out
  • Mingo needs to be taken out

The dogs are mainly relaxed during this time.

  • Rotate the dogs constantly throughout the day, ensuring they get to sit in the sun, pee and get some fresh air.
  • Mingo goes for a walk around 11am.
  • Jet needs to be taken out usually 3 times
  • Mingo needs to be taken out

Cleaning:

  • Spiderwebs
  • Walls
  • Organising the kitchens
  • Clearing weeds and dried leaves from the garden
  • Picking up dog poop. This is usually done after 10am to give it a chance to dry out but before midday when during the wet season it starts to rain.
  • Change, shake out and rearrange the couch covers.
  • Brush the long haired dogs, Jet, Scruffy, Clara and Motta.
  • Prune the bushes, cut the grass, pull out weeds.
  • 2pm prepare rice for the dogs' evening meal

Projects

  • Wash the couches
  • Fix the gate
  • Sew the broken cushions
  • Fix the couch, sand, varnish, recover
  • Germinate plants
  • Organise the shed
  • Sand and varnish the doors that have been scratched by the dogs
  • Organise piles of 'rubbish' lying around. These include things that could be useful, things that must go with the metal truck, things tht need to be recycled.

This is the busiest time and we need as many hands on deck as possible during these 3 hours.

  • Rotating the dogs
  • Watching that dogs don't bark at the gate
  • 4pm Feeding the dogs, cleaning up afterwards
  • 5:30pm Walk Bernie
  • Empty and refill water bowls
  • Feed cats and fill water in the bedrooms
  • Clean litter trays upstairs
  • Jet and Mingo need to be taken out according to the rotation
  • 5:30 pm Feed Leo
  • 6pm Put the cats inside
  • 6pm Put Scar/Romeo in his cage

Rules

  1. Do not put toilet paper into the toilet
  2. Clean up after yourself as soon as possible and never go to bed without doing so. This includes the kitchen and any dishes that need to be washed.
  3. Keep showers to a minimum. Shoot for 3-4 minutes.
  4. All shared spaces need to be kept neat and tidy, this includes bedrooms. All beds need to be made.
  5. Turn of all unnecessary lights.
  6. Do not slam the doors, take extra special care with glass doors and gates.

Frequently Asked Questions

Got questions? So did other volunteers!

Yes! Everyone can do a load of washing per week. Any additional loads of washing will cost 2000 colones (which is equivalent to around $3,50)

Absolutely! The same goes for dairy products including cheese, milk and eggs.

No they are not. While we wash all pots and pans properly, removing all residues, if you do not want to cook with pots that have been used for eggs, cheese or meat, then I suggest you bring your own.

No. Even if you have a slight allergy, be it to cats or dogs, please do not come. This house is so full of animals and their fur that it is almost impossible to prevent it from causing a reaction.

Absolutely! As long as they are within reason. Requests for dark chocolate or dry white wine for cooking will not be considered, however a request for oatmeal for breakfast definitely will!

First and foremost, it is important to note that this is a charity, that all of the funds are being directed towards the upkeep of almost 40 animals as well as the rescue of new animals all the time. So the idea is to be frugal and to make sure that it is properly rationed and portioned so that it lasts. There will always be enough food, but over eating and over cooking must be avoided at all times.

That being said, if the food supply is starting to get low, please bring it to my attention. There is nothing worse than having to do an emergency shop with a house full of hungry volunteers!

It depends what kind of work you do. If you are an English teacher or any kind of teacher at all, if you need to have regular meetings, if you need quiet space and uninterrupted periods, then no, this will probably be a very frustrating and unpleasant experience for you.

If on the other hand you are a developer, a blogger or  social media marketer, you could possibly find a comfortable place to do your work.

If you do plan on working while volunteering this will mean competing with other people who are doing the same for the internet. This needs to be per-arranged and a portion of the internet needs to be paid by you so that we can request a temporary upgrade during your stay.

Most importantly an application needs to be made via email. Send your request as well as a link to your active workaway profile to me.

Please remember to include:

  • A phone number where I can contact you either on WhatsApp, Signal or Telegram.
  • The dates that you will be available for
  • Your preferred accommodation
  • How many people and their respective ages

Once I have gone over it I will contact you directly to arrange a short video call. Once approved I will send you the login details to do a dog training course to help you prepare for your time with the dogs.

Your spot is only confirmed once I have received your payment.

For the sake of continuity the minimum is 3 weeks. The first week is usually spent learning, the second week spent practicing and the third week is where you start to feel comfortable and really create a connection with the dogs and cats.

Of course plans change and life happens, but your commitment is backed by your payment, which is minimal. For that reason, if your plans change, you do not qualify for a refund as you are faling out of a commitment.

The best way to make an international payment is via PayPal (paypal@thewetnoserescue.com). Please add 5% to cover the charges.

Your payment must be made before you arrive. Before making your payment please confirm in advance that we still have space for you since reservations are not cast in stone until they are fully paid for.

You must be at least 23 to come and volunteer here. If you are under the age of 23 you may still apply, but there is no guarantee you will get an interview.

A workaway profile is where volunteers and hosts have the opportunity to review each other. This platform allows travellers and hosts to introduce themselves. Having this platform means that we have a responsibility to each other to fulfil our commitments and agreements.

We provide basic vegan food and cannot cater for special diets unfortunately. It will be a case of being involved in the food preparation process if you would like to include or avoid specific foods.

Yes, all reserved beds are still paid for even if they are not slept in since we cannot fill those days on your days off.

In addition to being over the age of 23, the ideal candidate will have some work experience as well as travel or volunteer experience. If you can provide character reference letters from employers or previous volunteer opportunities, these will count in your favour.

You need to be able to work on your own, unsupervised, taking the initiative even with unpleasant tasks.

You need to be proactive, looking for ways in which we can improve the way we do things.

You will need to be responsible and honest when it comes to your work schedule. You will not be micromanaged but you can be asked to leave if you consistently do not fulfill your duties or complete your hours.

You need to be a team player.

Currently Costa Rica requires travel insurance that covers quarantine and hospital expenses in the event of contracting the virus. They also require masks in public spaces as well as social distancing. Our policies mimic those of the country. We do not require a test or vaccine.

Long term stays are possible on an invitation only basis. Long term is considered more than 2 months or indefinite.

Volunteers in action!

3 thoughts on “Work Exchange”

  1. Mabel says:

    Cual es el costo del alojamiento en una litera con 4 personas, se puede llevar a su propio perro con su comida?

    1. Ashleigh says:

      Hola! Lamentablemente no se puede traer otros animales acá. En litera no hay costo, solo hay que coordinar antes para asegurar que hay espacio 🙂

  2. Lindsey says:

    Hello you sound like commited dog lovers and its really nice to see people that dedecate their life to animals how amazing,i would like to volunteer this year but with work commitments at the moment etc its not possible but i will defanatly be contacting you next year and offering to do voluntary work with you bless you.

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