Dog Rescue Helper

founded in 2011
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Coordinator | Josh
Coordinator | Josh
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.


Contribute towards the UN’s development goal no. 15 – life on land
Care for injured, abandoned & disabled street dogs
Create training plans & enrichment opportunities
Experience Cape Town from centrally located accommodation
Use weekends to head on safari, climb table mountain or go wine tasting
In stunning South Africa, help provide essential childcare facilities to struggling families in some of Cape Town's poorest communities. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+

Background to the Dog Rescue program:

Due to the difficult economic and social difficulties in South Africa, there is a large problem with domestic animal ownership and long-term care. For a whole host of reasons, people can often find they no longer have the financial means to look after their pets. This often leads to abandonment and abuse of these beautiful canines.

In Cape Town and its surroundings, there are over 230,000 stray dogs and up to 1 million across South Africa. Many face injury, abuse, malnutrition, and sickness as a lack of vaccinations among the population exists. There have been some cases in recent years of rabies which is a major concern for animal wellbeing organisations in South Africa. Rabies is a fatal disease that is transmitted by various animals but is most prevalent amongst dogs in South Africa. This viral infection is spread via the saliva of a rabid animal; hence it can be passed on through a bite or contact with an open wound. Unfortunately, rabies will continue to exist until there are further efforts to eliminate it. When coupled with poor awareness or resources to help and the need for assistance goes unrecognised by local governments, it is often the goodwill of locals and programs like these that will afford these dogs a second chance at the life they deserve.

Offering vaccinations and neutering helps to manage the numbers of stray dogs in the area as well as the potential risks of spreading rabies and other diseases and illnesses. It also helps the dogs become more adoptable in that the costs of neutering and vaccinating them are not at the cost of the potential new owners.

Many female strays produce multiple litters each year, many of which are dumped on the roadside. These puppies have a low chance of survival, as they are at high risk of contracting diseases, malnutrition, or being involved in road traffic accidents. This is where our Cape Town dog rescue volunteers step in.

The dogs are well taken care of and are fed, trained, and groomed in preparation for their hopeful adoption and given lots of company by volunteers in the build-up to their departure from the centre.

Because of the increasing numbers and seemingly ever-growing issues in the community, this project was established to provide a safe environment for the dogs and provide a second chance a fulfilling life. The center is a pro-life, non-profit organisation that rescues, cares for, and sterilizes stray dogs and cats with the hope of eventually finding a home for them.

The centre has 2 departments, one being a full animal hospital that treats all kinds of sickness and injury/operations, and the other is an adoption center where participants will care for and work with the animals in their recovery until they can be placed with an adoption family. Due to a lack of funding, they are only able to employ a handful of employees who have quite the workload and don’t get to spend as much time bonding with the animals as they’d like. This is where the volunteers come in to assist with the hands-on work associated with caring for the animals and their enclosures to lighten the load on the staff and ensure better care for the animals overall.

All volunteers are required to be vaccinated against rabies and tetanus in order to work at this animal shelter. Even though the animals that are already at the shelter are safe to work with, new animals arrive each day and most will have not received any vaccinations.

Typical day

Your Volunteer Role & Typical Dog Rescue Day

Our Cape Town dog rescue volunteers spend their days assisting with daily tasks and caring for the dogs living in the center. The project runs from Monday-Friday from 9am-12pm. When you volunteer in South Africa typical duties on this wildlife volunteering abroad program include:

  • Cleaning, maintaining hygiene, and upkeep in the project premises and living areas
  • Preparing meals for and feeding the dogs
  • Playtime and socialisation with the dogs
  • Walking and exercising on a daily basis
  • Bathing and washing the dogs
  • Creating training and enrichment plans
  • Assisting with medication administration
  • Grooming and checking for ticks
  • Creating and maintaining documentation for dog profiles (history, vaccinations etc) and site visits
  • Caring for sick/disabled/injured dogs
  • Animal welfare education

You will be assisting the local staff in these tasks each day. Any additional duties will be based on current needs and availability. For instance, rescuing puppies in danger, pet adoption, and community awareness.

PMGY’s South Africa dog rescue volunteer program is an incredible opportunity to do your bit to help protect and care for these lovely animals. You can make a positive impact whilst spending time in a country that will amaze you on so many levels.

Free-time activities


PMGY volunteers are based in Sea Point, a fantastic cosmopolitan spot in Cape Town with a great vibe. The Promenade runs the length of Sea Point’s beachfront, from Bantry Bay to Mouille Point and is the ideal place to walk, jog and watch the sunset. The beach provides a nice spot for just chilling out and relaxing in the sun.

There is a host of pubs, music clubs, coffee shops and restaurants. Sea Point’s vibrant nightlife creates a carnival atmosphere for visitors and locals alike. The beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay are not too far off, and the V&A Waterfront and Two Oceans Aquarium are just minutes away.

In fact the possibilities in Cape Town during your time off are endless and you may well struggle to fit everything in! Whether you want to stay in the city or explore the rest of the Western Cape there really is something for everyone.


Located in the heart of Cape Town’s working harbour the Waterfront offers visitors an abundance of experiences. You will find a range of restaurants, shops and hotels surrounding the highly impressive marina. There is usually live music being played throughout the day. The Waterfront is only a stone’s throw away from the Cape Town Stadium and is about a 20 minute walk from the Volunteer House. It is definitely worth a look!


Situated in the City Bowl, Long Street is the main hangout spot for backpackers in Cape Town. It is famous for its bohemian feel and the street is lined with bars, restaurants and interesting shops. Many of the backpacker hostels are located on Long Street and it is the main place to go if you want to experience Cape Town’s exciting nightlife.


One of the most popular attractions in Cape Town is Table Mountain. It stands 1000m above sea level and the summit can be accessed via cable car. If you’re feeling energetic then you can always trek to the top! The journey takes around 1.5 hours. It is a challenging trek but the views from the summit are truly spectacular. The cable car is weather dependent so don’t rely on it to take you back down to the bottom! There is a restaurant at the top, it’s quite pricey but if you took the trekking option it’s a nice place to sit and relax. For the adrenaline junkies there is an abseiling company who operate from the top of Table Mountain, it’s the highest commercial abseil in the world.


Used as a prison right up until 1996, this Unesco World Heritage site is preserved as a memorial to those such as Nelson Mandela who spent many years incarcerated there. You can only go there on a tour lasting around 4 hours. It includes the ferry and departs from the Nelson Mandela Gateway beside the Clock Tower at the Waterfront. Booking online well in advance is highly recommended as tours can sell out.

Water Sports


In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Criminal Background Check
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 09:00 - 12:00

What's Included

Services by Plan My Gap Year
  • Accommodation (Volunteer House) 
  • Meals (Breakfast Mo - Fr) 
  • Airport Pickup 
  • In-Country Orientation
  • In-Country Support
  • 24h UK Based Support
  • Volunteer Handbook
  • Live Pre-Departure Webinars
  • Regular Program Inspection
Airport Pickup at Cape Town International Airport

We provide a free pickup service from the airport. If you would like us to also arrange your return, we will charge a fee.


Volunteer House

During your time on the South Africa volunteer programs, you will live in our Volunteer House. This is located in Observatory - better known as ‘Obz’ by the locals! Home to South African’s oldest Astronomical Observatory, this is Cape Town’s most bohemian suburb; an arty district. The main entertainment area is located only a 10 minute walk from the hostel, along lower Main Road. During the day, this road is home to various boutique shops, restaurants and cafes. However, at night, the street comes to life, with a vibrant nightlife.

The accommodation is basic but comfortable. Moreover, Wi-Fi is available free of charge. Each room has bunk beds with up to 8 people per room (on a single-sex basis). Bathrooms are shared, with showers and western-style toilets. During the winter period (June to August) it can get quite cold, so please bring warm clothes. International volunteers are provided with a bedsheet and blanket. However, you may also choose to bring a sleeping bag or buy an additional blanket from the local store for extra warmth.

The house has a communal area for volunteers to hang out after completing volunteer work in South Africa. Moreover, the Volunteer House comes with sofas, a flat-screen TV and DVD player. In addition, there will also be fridge space available for volunteers to store any chilled items. Each volunteer will be assigned their own lockable cupboard for the safekeeping of small valuable items. For example, this could be storing your passport and/or money. Therefore, volunteers are advised to bring with them a small lock to make use of these.

During our busiest months (June to September) you may be placed at alternative accommodation. This could be a nearby guesthouse or one of our summer Volunteer Houses.

Dorm Room
Food & Beverages

During your volunteer trip to South Africa, volunteers will be provided with breakfast. You will need to purchase your own lunch and dinner during the volunteering week. In addition, you will need to budget for all meals at the weekend. Please note, that although the Volunteer House has a kitchen, this is quite small. As a result, cooking meals can be difficult and it can be more practical to eat out for lunch and at weekends.

Breakfast operates in a self-service format. Volunteers just help themselves and all cutlery and crockery are provided. If you fancy eating out there are plenty of cafes, restaurants and local amenities in the surrounding area. For breakfast we provide yoghurt, fruit, cheese, bread, jams, tea and coffee, peanut butter, eggs etc. Volunteers just help themselves – all cutlery and crockery etc is provided. 

If you fancy eating out there are plenty of cafes, restaurants and local amenities in the surrounding area. Long Street, Cape Town’s premier nightlife destination is only 10 minutes away by public transport.

Note: Our team will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements but there may be instances where you may need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense.

Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town. We assist you to find cheap flights to South Africa.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for South Africa provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in South Africa you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for South Africa.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

For your volunteer trip to South Africa, you should book your flights to Cape Town International Airport in Cape Town on the Sunday start date. The airport code is CPT. You will be met at the airport by a member of the local team or an appointed driver, who will be holding a named sign. They will take you to your accommodation where you will spend the rest of your day at leisure.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1 - 24 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
1 week (min. stay)
2 weeks
3 weeks
4 weeks
8 weeks
16 weeks
24 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$384 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. Plan My Gap Year will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Plan My Gap Year during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
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Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if Plan My Gap Year cancels your trip
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We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Plan My Gap Year.

What are people saying about Volunteer World?

Dog Rescue Helper

In stunning South Africa, help provide essential childcare facilities to struggling families in some of Cape Town's poorest communities.


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