Volunteering at an Animal Shelter in Valparaíso, Chile

Mary Johnson is a student at Southern Illinois University and is an ISA Classmates Connecting Cultures  blogger corresponding with a high school sociology class in Illinois. Mary is currently studying in Valparaiso, Chile on an ISA Spring 2 program.

My new friend, Sombrita
My new friend, Sombrita

One of the first things you might notice upon arriving in Chile is the abundance of stray dogs. There are so many here that there is even a Chilean slang word for them—quiltro. The street dogs are rarely put to sleep and almost never spayed or neutered. At first, I had a hard time deciding whether or not I liked seeing them all in the street. It made me so happy to see the dogs every day, but I wasn’t sure how good of lives they had without a real home. Then that fateful day came when I saw one get utterly slaughtered by a car. I was heartbroken.

But wait, while this made me incredibly sad, I knew I needed to do something. I found out there are around 100 animal shelters in the Valpo area. Before my second semester here I contacted an organization called PAEC Organización No Gubernamental, a dog shelter in Valparaíso, to ask about volunteering. This organization cares for, houses, and finds homes for almost 20 dogs at a time. I have been going every Wednesday and brought my camera along so I could share some of my new friends with all of you!

John
John
Chiquita
Chiquita
Chascas
Chascas

6 thoughts

  1. Hey Mary, my name is Trudala Cooks. I’m studying abroad in Valparaiso through the CIEE program. I was wondering if you knew the address for the shelter. I’m doing a project on the dogs in Valparaiso and I’d like to interview some of the workers at the shelter. Thanks.

  2. Hello Mary, I am working on a book for a bestselling author about heroic dogs and heard about Negrita, the mama dog who dug a pit to save her puppies from a forest fire in Valparaiso back in March. I’m trying to find out what happened to Negrita and her litter. I’m hoping you can help connect us with someone over there that was involved in the rescue. We are on a deadline so any help would be appreciated for this story to be included. Thank you so much. Best, Melanie

    1. Melanie, were you able to find out what happened to Negrita? Or to contact over there to find out? Any help would be appreciated.

  3. Mary, Can you provide me with any contacts regarding Negrita and her puppies. Perhaps the shelter that helped find her and her puppies homes. Would be much appreciated.

  4. Linda, I am checking with the writer to whom I passed along the information. I will let you know. – Melanie

    1. Unfortunately, the writer was not able to get enough info and photos to include her in her latest book about hero dogs. She loved the story and hopes Negrita and her puppies all found good homes. -Melanie

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