No. 5 – Dog Walking at the Animal Shelter

We left our dogs Max and Roxy back in Indianapolis with family during this adventure. Over the last 6 weeks their presence has been sorely missed. To make up for it, and because this was one of the few volunteer activities we could find in Andorra, Brian and the girls walked dogs at the local animal shelter last weekend. They showed up on Saturday morning with a leash in hand. Over the course of the next few hours they met Ransy, Tigre, Marco, Taison and many other canine companions in need of a good home. Brian, Em, Ali and our niece, Elia, were tasked with taking dogs for a walk on leash, which keeps these prospective adoptees social and easily walkable for their future owners.

It proved to be a more challenging task than expected. While it does sit in a valley region of the gorgeous Pyrenees mountains, Andorra is actually quite urban. The shelter was situated near the border to Spain just off the main highway with little access to hiking paths or broad sidewalks. In fact, with the first set of dogs, our crew wound up in the middle of the border crossing. Not ideal for dog walking, obviously.
At the border crossing
Eventually they found a short path above the border checkpoint with a view of the mountains and plenty of grass for the dogs to sniff and pee on.
Above border crossing
Brian with kids and dogs
As in every country, homeless animals are an issue in Andorra. This happens for many reasons, and most of the time it is in no way a problem with the animal. Owners may realize they can’t care for a pet, they pass away unexpectedly, or sometimes they lose their jobs have to leave the country for work.

Our family here got their own dog, Juna, from this same no-kill animal shelter. She is one of the many examples of an adult dog integrating perfectly into a young family. Her party trick is to quietly mimic the sound of passing sirens. She sounds so much like a siren that it takes a person a couple times to realize the sound is her and not the actual siren getting further away from the apartment. Juna became quite a fan of Emily, who got in the habit of walking her in the morning. On several occasions Emily’s alarm clock came in the form of Juna licks to the face, letting her know it was time to go!

The experience of walking the dogs was a reminder that many sweet animals are waiting in local shelters for a good family. They may not be winning any dog shows, but “pound puppies” are the most wonderful pets. Just ask Max and Roxy! Or this guy with the crazy long tongue.
Big tongue

About the Author

Mom, wife, friend and change agent traveling the world with my family to learn our place in it. After spending a career in organizational change management and community initiative implementation, I put my career on hold for our family's trip around the world. In April of 2014 we sold almost everything we own, put the rest in a storage container, and departed on this journey. While my husband continued his software development work to financially support our trip, I planned and documented our adventure, homeschooled our three daughters, and found volunteer work opportunities for us to do in the communities we visit. Now that we've returned to the U.S., I'm completing book about our family's adventure and our lessons learned.

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  1. I´m pleased you found some voluntering work in Andorra finally! As Belinda Paris from l’Avenc said in another post, some people who are financially ok, don´t seem to undertsand that some tourists would want to help.
    If you go to Barcelona or surroundings again before you go to your next trip, I can suggest some more animal shelters that would love you to help. I´ll find the contacts and give them to you soon.

  2. hi there, I am going to be in andorra and would love to do this as well! Can you tell me what the name of the shelter is??? I’m having extreme difficulty locating it on google and when I searched, I found this article :) thank you for this post!

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