Abandoned Pet Care

British Columbia, Canada



The Experience

Help us make a difference! Abused and abandoned pets at a center located in the Greater Vancouver NEEDS your help! 

 Every year this volunteer project treats many animals throughout the Greater Vancouver area with the mission to provide humane care to injured, unwanted and abused pets. Working with the animals at the centre is rewarding but physically demanding, and it is by no means an ’easy holiday option’! But helping to making a difference is an option. Animal care volunteers are needed all year round.


This Is Why

  • Care for abandoned and abused pets in the Greater Vancouver Area of Canada!
  • Live in a homestay with a Canadian family to get to know Canadian culture and customs.
  • Live in urban area of the Greater Vancouver area and find out why Vancouver has been chosen as best liveable city in the world so many times!

Project Details
  • Key Start Dates
    Year Round (however try to book early in advance to be assured of a volunteer placement)
  • Package Price

    04 weeks: $1,995 US
    06 weeks: $2,495 US
    08 weeks: $2,795 US
  • What's not included
    Flights, Insurance
  • Volunteer duration
    4 - 8 weeks
  • Average Work hours
    5 days per week, minimum 8 hours per day
  • Number of Volunteers
  • Volunteer accommodation
  • Housing Type
    Homestay with A Canadian Family nearby the project
  • Internet Access
    Wireless internet included at the homestay
  • Who Are They Looking For?
    Love of the outdoors and a passion for wildlife is a priority. You should not be fussy, picky or hypersensitive about cleaning as this is one of the main chores.  We will not tolerate smoking, alcohol or the use of drugs. Please remember that you are a guest, therefore, respecting the rules is essential.

Fast Facts: Canada

Where? North America, Canada

Country Size: 9,984,670 km2
3,854,085 sq mi

Population density? 3.41/km2
8.3/sq mi

Country Famous for? Bears, Root Beer, Rocky Mountains, Skiing, Niagara waterfalls, Pacific rainforest, friendly people

When to visit: All year round, skiing and dog sledding in winter and hiking and wildlife viewing in summer

  • What's Included
    • Placement
      Abandoned Pet Care Greater Vancouver
    • Airport Pickup

      We will be waiting for you at the airport and transfer you to your Homestay accommodation nearby the project.
    • Accommodation
      Homestay near the volunteer project. You homestay family will give you the easy directions to the volunteer project which lies several minutes away  from your homestay
    • Meals
      3 meals a day included (possible catering available for vegetarians)
    • Mail-holding service
      You can use FRONTEERINGS office as a reliable address to have your mail delivered
    • Ongoing service
      If there are any problems with your volunteer project we are always there to help you and mediate between yourself and the organization.
    • Tours
      Through FRONTEERING you have the possibility to book tours in Canada after you have finished your volunteer project.
    • 24/7 Emergency contact
      If there are any problems during you stay in Vancouver you can reach us 24/7 to assist you.

    What's not included: Flights, Insurance

    Package Price:
    04 weeks: $1,995 US
    06 weeks: $2,495 US
    08 weeks: $2,795 US

    The domestic animal care and care center was established over a 100 years ago. In the shelter they mainly care for dogs, cats, small animals and birds. Our Criminal Investigation Department will also ensure that farm animals and Livestock are being taken care of in a proper manner.
    You will be involved in many cleaning and socializing related tasks of the animals, some of the tasks you will be involved in but not limited to:
    • Walking and playing with the animals (socializing)
    • Answering phones
    • Grooming the animals
    • taking in new animals
    • Animal Health Checks and vaccinations.
    • Setting up kennels
    • Ensuring the animals have what they need to be happy
    • Maintenance and cleaning duties
    • Complete daily welfare assessments of all animals

    As a volunteer you will help the staff clean, do vaccines, health checks and keep the shelter going. We have about 50 volunteers, who all work in different fields (cats, dogs, floater). We would try to have you work in all these fields so you would get the most out of this. If there is one area that you prefer, we would definitely try to have you stay there (depending on schedules and staffing).
    Most works is directly involving the cats and dogs of the center

  • Requirements, Guidelines & Policies
    • Required to commit to a minimum of 4 weeks
    • Must complete 2-4 days of training and shadow a senior volunteer before starting independent shifts
    • NO SMOKING is allowed on the property.
    • Strong work ethics are required: reliable, responsible, honest, good sense of humour, dependable, physically and mentally fit.
    • Age: 18-30
    • No animal allergies
    • Tetanus Vaccination required
    • Jeans and Toe Covered shoes is a must!
  • Volunteer Benefits
    • Get the opportunity to work with animals and learn the many aspects involved.
    • Develop interpersonal skills
    • Gain training & experience
    • Build self confidence
    • Receive recognition
  • Fast Facts
    • Project location

      Greater Vancouver, 45 minutes hours east of Vancouver Downtown by public transport.

    • Area Famous For
      Coastal Mountains, Skiing, Tubing, Hiking, Biking, Sky diving, Whale Watching
    • When to visit
      All year round, in summer great hiking at the local mountains and lakes and in the winter to visit one of the local skiing areas. The project needs your help all year round!
    • Wildlife viewing
      Good, In the nearby surrounds are many opportunities to see wildlife like bald eagles, Killer Whales, squirrels, Raccoons, skunks, deer, coyotes and even Black Bears.
  • Itinerary & Details
    Day 1 - Arrive in British Columbia, Canada;
    You will arrive in Vancouver where you will be met at the airport and transferred to the volunteer project.
    For4 - 8 weeks - Help, rescue Abandoned, injured and absued animals!
    For the coming weeks you will have a great time working directly with  animals while living in beautiful Vancouver Area!
    Your last day - you will fly back home or take the opportunity to travel through Canada. Our staff will gladly help you to book any tours to see more of this great country. If you would like to visit Vancouver or Toronto; we can help you with both short and longer term accommodation.
  • Accommodation

    Your Homestay accommodation will be arranged by FRONTEERING near the volunteer project.
    Homestay: live with a Canadian family and includes your own bedroom, laundry facility in the house, wireless internet, cable TV and 3 meals a day. Of course you can also make use of the living room, kitchen and washroom. It’s a great way to get to know the real Greater Vancouver Area and improve your English.

    Things to bring from home

    • Clothes for cold temperatures as well as for summer for warm temperatures. Make these clothes are allowed to get dirty. Make sure to bring gloves, a toque and warm socks with you.
    • Comfortable walking shoes are essential, and you should also pack a raincoat and some sun block
    • Linen and towels will be provided.


    You will be provided with 3 meals a day, specific catering available on request only.


    The volunteer project is located in one of the suburbs of the greater Vancouver Area where there is something to do for everyone.  Whether it is enjoying the nature, ski or snowboard, mountain bike, hike, going to the nearby coast and enjoying the sea or visiting Vancouver Downtown there is plenty to do near the volunteer station on your days of.


Stine from Denmark
I wanted to volunteer in Canada with animals and still be in the city that is why a choose this project. I enjoyed my visits to Vancouver downtown on the weekends and during the week I liked to work with all the animals they were so sweet. Working with the animals was really nice and I did not mind the cleaning work I had to do now and then as it helps the center and their cause.

Luisa From Germany
I love Canada! beautiful Country! I like all the trips I can do, visiting Vancouver, go skiing, visiting Vancouver Island and especially the Rocky Mountains! The work at the project was very too and my homestay family was so nice and they showed me around a lot!

Caroline from the UK
I first wanted to volunteer with wildlife but due to it being winter I decided to volunteer at Abandoned pet Care program since they are busy all year round. Some of the cases of the animals who come in are very sad and you have to be able to cope with that but the work is very rewarding. I loved Vancouver and the surroundings but I think it rains even more than in England!

Sonja From Germany
I mainly wanted to improve my English while working with animals. My homestay family was very nice and helped me practice a lot and my English got better and better and made volunteering at the project easier. I miss the dogs very much!


Thirza from Germany

This project is located in Abbotsford, about 70 kilometres from Vancouver. Abbotsford is a very stretched out city, with not really a distinct ’city centre’. There is not really an opportunity to cycle to the project, since most of the roads are very busy. I usually took the bus to go to the project, but the public transit in Canada isn’t very well-organised compared to Europe. My homestay family did not bring me or pick me up. I could occasionally drive with one of the employees of the project.



You clean their cages, refresh their water and litterbox and give them new food. Whilst cleaning the cage the cat can go out wandering around the room, but you should never have two cats out at once, unless the staff tells you it’s okay. After you’re done cleaning the cages you sweep and mop the floors. There are usually a lot of dishes, so I went and did them after cleaning. Aside from this there weren’t really full responsibilities. It was more a ‘do what has to be done’ kind of thing. When there is nothing to do you can just go and play with the dogs and cats if you want to.


I also got the opportunity to hand-feed a kitten and help inject the animals that came in new. You’ll also get to fully sanitise cages of adopted animals and prepare them for new incoming animals.




I stayed at a family who lived 8 km from the project. Like previously mentioned, I went to the project by bus, this is about $3 per trip. If you’re kind to the bus drivers and you don’t have cash with you/not enough/only paper money they might let you drive for free. The family was very friendly and I had a lot of fun there. They cooked vegetarian for me, which was very nice of them to do since they themselves do eat meat. I had my own room and a shared bathroom. I had freedom to do what I wanted and go out to the shopping mall etc. I could eat their food and watch Netflix on their accounts.




If you love cats I’d certainly recommend this project! The people working at the shelter are so nice and kind, they help you out a lot. It’s part of the Shelter, which is an amazing organisation with a very volunteer-friendly culture. You are very well trained by them and if there is anything you need to ask they will gladly help you out. It was a lot of fun to do and I would love to return one day. The animals and the humans are absolutely amazing to work with.




I listened to quite a lot of podcasts during this work, because you’re usually cleaning the cages on your own. Some of the cats might scratch or bite you, but the aggressive ones are usually staff-only, they won’t let volunteers work with them. I’d recommend bringing warm clothes if you’re going to this project in winter, and maybe some of those handwarmers. The wait-times for the busses can be quite long. Also, bring or buy an umbrella there. If you go by bus, leave the project early so you can catch a bus whilst it is still light, make sure the cars see you! There aren’t really sidewalks on the road from the bus stop to the project so the cars will drive quite close to you. It’s not unsafe as long as you make sure the cars see you. When it was too dark I often just turned on the flashlight on my phone and shone the light on myself.


Olivia from Germany

The work in the shelter is great, I like very much the staff members and the work I am doing. The animals are very nice and sweet, sometimes I am sad, that I can’t take some with me home. But it is a great experience to work with all the differents animals with their different lifestory and I am so lucky to have Elke as my hostmother, because we get along great and she takes great care of me. She is a really good hostmother and we did a lot together, we went together to Vancouver and she showed me lot, what you can do around Abbotsford. I am really enjoyed a lot of my time at the Abandoned Pet Care and with Elke.

Working with animals, discovering a foreign country, getting to know new people, improving my English - these were my expectations and hopes when I took the plane to Vancouver, leaving my normal life behind me. Now, three months later, I can definitely say that I don’t regret the decision to volunteer at the Abandoned Pet Care project in Abbotsford, British Columbia. It was a time full of work, but also full of fun…

Arrival and first impressions

The partner of my homestay mother picked me up at the airport in Vancouver. An hour drive later, I fell into the bed in my new room. The room was modern and big, and I even had my own washroom. I used the following two days to adjust to the time difference and to discover the neighbourhood. My homestay mother took me to the mall, helped me to buy a monthly bus ticket and a canadian SIM card. We also visited the animal shelter, so I was able to get a first impression and seek out the bus stop. The shelter was lovely, but smaller than I expected. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming. I was looking forward to my first day at the shelter, because I wanted to finally get down to work!

Work at the animal shelter

The volunteering at the project began daily at 9am. Luckily, my homestay family drove me to work almost every morning. Each morning the dog and cat kennels needed to be cleaned. In average, we had one to six dogs and about 10 to 20 cats. Moreover, there were small animals like rabbits, rats, budgies, guinea pigs and pigeons whose cages needed to be cleaned too. Even a baby pig was housed for a short time! Other tasks were washing the laundry and the dishes as well as mopping the office and welcome area. In addition to this daily work, we sorted out the food truck and the sheet closet, we mowed the lawn or removed ivy from fences.

Afterwards, we were always welcomed to play with the dogs in the play yards, cuddle with the cats and go for a long walk with the dogs. This was the best time of the day for us volunteers, but also for the animals. They loved to be entertained and to be the middle of all attention.

Depending on how many animals the shelter housed at the moment, how fast we worked and how long we played with the animals, we left the shelter at 1-3pm. But the staff is very friendly and will always allow you to leave earlier if you want to.Unfortunately, the bus system in Abbotsford is not too good, so instead of a ten minute drive back home with the car, it took me about 90 minutes to get to my place.

All in all, the work is not hard, as long as volunteers aren’t afraid to get dirty. I did not mind that I started my volunteering time together with another volunteer from Germany. We immediately became friends and worked well as a team. But she left Canada one month earlier than me, so I also experienced, that the work can become a little monotonous if you do it alone.

Quarantine at the shelter

After the first month in Canada flew by, the shelter was infected by ringworm. Thankfully, only two cats were affected, but for safety, the shelter was quarantined for two weeks and we had to gown up to clean the kennels. Ringworm is not an unusual event in an animal shelter and it was interesting to experience the countermeasures.

Free Time

The other volunteer and I used our work free time to discover Abbotsford and its environment: We visited the two malls of Abbotsford, we went to the theater, strolled downtown, where we discovered our favorite café, we learned how to ice skate and circled the town lake. Abbotsford is a nice town, but it is rather small and all its highlights can be seen in one week.

The more we enjoyed our trips to Vancouver.The city offers something for everybody whether it is shopping, walking through the beautiful Stanley Parc or discovering the huge aquarium. One of our highlights was our weekend trip, that included whale watching. It was worth every dime, of course it cost a couple of dollars - Lunees for insiders!! However it needs to be said, that Vancouver is not easy to reach. Until October, there is a Greyhound bus that connects Abbotsford and Vancouver and luckily, the homestay mother of my friend was able to drive us another time. But in winter, there is no public connection to Vancouver.

We also drove to Seattle, White Rock and we went hiking in a parc full of huge trees and a waterfall. This way, we discovered more of the wonderful Canadian nature.

My own homestay family invited me to the theatre a couple of times, we went to the Glow festival in Langley and to the Christmas Market in Vancouver. During working days, life was quieter of course, with dinner, writing or movie in the evening.

In a nutshell, I was lucky to meet so many awesome people, who took me to amazing places.


Volunteering at the Abandoned Pet Care project is a great opportunity. The staff is very friendly and appreciates the help of all the volunteers. This creates a great work atmosphere and makes volunteering fun. Of course, the work is mainly cleaning, but there is enough time to cuddle with the animals too. If there are any questions, the staff is always there to help. The shelter is not too big and after a few days, it is possible to work independently.

There is enough free time to discover beautiful British Columbia and more than one trip to Vancouver is definitely worth it. I encourage everybody else who considers to come here to dare the adventure. It is not just a myth, that Canadians are very friendly and welcoming, it is the truth!

Julie from Germany

Arrival in Canada

After a nine hour flight from Hamburg via London to Vancouver I finally arrived in Vancouver. I was picked up from a driver from the Canadian partner organisation. One hour later I was standing in front of my home for the next two months in Abbotsford. My host mother, Grace, showed me my room and the rest of the house. I had a room and bathroom for myself. Then I got to know the three other housemates. One of them was also volunteering at the Abandoned Pet Care. I went to bed really early because I was very exhausted and tired from the long trip. On the next day Grace showed me the way to the shelter.

First day at the shelter

On my first day the host father from another German volunteer, Julie, picked me up and then drove us to the shelter. It was her first day, too. We already had contact by e-mail so I was really excited to finally meet Julie. 

Val, a staff member, welcomed us at the Abandoned Pet Care. She gave us our volunteer shirts and showed us around the shelter. There were a lot of animals especially cats. Besides that there were also dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats and pigeons. Furthermore she introduced us to the other staff members. They showed us what work we should do. After a couple of days Julie and I became a well rehearsed team. 

My Daily Routine

My days started with cleaning the dog kennels and then provide them with new blankets, beds and toys.  After that I cleaned the three cat rooms and gave the cats new food, towels and toys, too.

In addition to these things I also had to do general tasks such as washing the dogs and cats dishes as well as washing the used blankets and towels and cleaning the reception area. When there were small animals like rabbits and guinea pigs they had to be fed and cleaned as well. I also did other work for example organizing the food truck or cutting the lawn.

After I finished all of these tasks I often played with the cats and dogs. I also took dogs for long walks or played with them in the play yard. You could tell that the dogs really enjoyed being outside and going on walks. The cats loved to be petted and to play with me as well. What really opened my heart were dogs and cats that were shy at the beginning and turned to be open; after a while they were coming up to me and wanted to play or to be petted. 

The amount of time spent on tasks always depended on how many animals were currently in the shelter and how many staff members were there. 

My Free Time 

In my free time I did a lot of things with Julie. We went to the shopping malls in Abbotsford and explored Vancouver. In Abbotsford we also went to the cinema a couple of times, walked around the parks, went ice skating, sat in a cafe or just stayed at one of our houses and baked.

My host mother took Julie and me to Vancouver a couple of times. She did hikes with us, explored the area around Abbotsford with us and even took us to Seattle. Julie and I also went to Vancouver ourselves. It took us around an hour and a half to get there by bus. We then biked around downtown and Stanley Park or sat at the port on Granville Island. The highlight on our stay was the whale watching we did together. We took the bus early in the morning and also stayed for one night in a hostel. 

My host mother was really nice and always gave me advice when I needed help. She often picked me up at Julies or even late from the cinema. In the evening we watched a lot of movies together. On Thanksgiving she took me to her family and I had a great time there. 

In the evening my host mother always cooked a warm meal and also asked me what I wanted to eat. I always prepared my own breakfast and packed lunch for me for work.

My Conclusion

The tasks in the shelter were all easy to do. The staff members and other volunteers were really nice and helpful. They never left me alone! I felt like I was accepted as a real staff member and I loved that my work was so much appreciated. 

I loved being with the people there and the animals which also seemed to appreciate my work very much. 

Besides the work in the shelter I had the possibility to discover Vancouver, a wonderful city. 

Concluding, I have to say that volunteering was a great experience for me. I did learn a lot and met amazing people. I really enjoyed and loved working with the different animals in the shelter. It was a lot of fun and I would recommend volunteering to everyone. 

Lea from Germany


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