What does this animal shelter do?
This mainly horse shelter (but also packed with other animals, mostly dogs) is run by Jorge and Claudia’s family. They have spent the past 20 years rescuing and healing ill-treated horses. They work hand –in-hand with their 4 daughters: twins Macarena and Micaela (13 years old), Lourdes (8) and Gema (only 3 years old)
Claudia childhood was all about horseback riding and she has always loved horses, so much so that she has devoted most of her life to protecting and rescuing maltreated horses.
The family, originally from Buenos Aires, moved to Villa Rumpial in 2002. Villa Rumpial is a pintoresc little town of only 200 inhabitants in Córdoba province, just one hour away from Córdoba capital. They funded their animal shelter with much effort in a lot next to Villa Rumpial airfield where it worked until 2013 when they had to move to their current location in a lot granted by the town Hall but where they have nowhere to live but an old bus until they are able to build their own home in the new shelter.
Although they could live in town, this family has made the decision to leave their own comfort behind to take care of the shelter animals 24/7. The shelter is home to 80 horses, over 40 dogs, 3 cats and a few more fellow animals. They have all been rescued from abandonment and abuse.
The only income this family lives on is Jorge’s retirement plan and Claudia’s horseback riding lessons delivered to local neighbors. They do not enjoy any government aid or subsidy, they only receive volunteer donations to buy animal food and the materials they need to treat animals’ wounds. This family has many times put the animals’ needs before their own to provide animals with food and medicine. They are a real example of unconditional love and commitment to animals.
Despite their small income, the family has many times used their money to even buy animals from abusive owners who wanted to sell them to slaughter houses. They have been able to save many horses that are nowadays alive and kicking spending the rest of their life happily in a loving environment at the shelter. It is also important to point out that none of the abused horses that are rescued are used for horseback riding or labor; they are let loose in the fields.
Claudia and Jorge also specialize in equine therapy and, although they do need some extra cash, they offered free equinotheraphy for disabled children who needed it. They had even gone as far as to picking up the kids so they could enjoy equine therapy in the shelter.
There are many needs to be met at the shelter. The most urgent one is the construction of Jorge and Claudia’s home so that they can have access to public services such as water and electricity. It is for that reason that Connecting Worlds, with the help of many volunteers, is helping them make their life quality a bit better. We are working hard to make sure they can finally have access to these very basic needs.
These are some of the projects volunteers can help out with:
-Free spay and neuter programs: one the biggest problems in the area is that pet owners usually do not spay/neuter their pets, causing an excessive (and usually unwanted) animal population. As a consequence, puppies and also elder animals are abandoned or left at the shelter. It is for that reason that raising awareness on spay and neuter is so important. The shelter is planning on building a little special spay/neuter room to offer this service, but first they need to have services such as water and electricity and, of course, the means to build it.
-Free equine therapy: this family dream is to offer free equine therapy for those in need of it. Therefore, what they need is a properly set area where to have them. Volunteers can help from actual construction work to taking part in the therapy sessions or just taking care of the animals and visitors.
-Barnyard building: The shelter is home to horses and dogs alike, but they need to have separate living spaces. Puppies, for instance, need to be in an area where they can be separated and protected from bigger dogs. Also, horses that need medical treatment need to be placed accordingly. Horses are also extremely sensitive to storms and they can get terrified during thunder storms, so they need to have bigger barns to be sheltered.
-Recuing and healing abused or ill-treated animals: Claudia and Jorge are always there when neighbors call them in for help to rescue a wounded horse or dog. Unfortunately, the number of wounded animals is ever increasing and, although this family does take care of them on full time basis, they need volunteers to help them. Some activities include: cleaning barnyards, treating wounds, helping with treatment, etc. Every bit of help counts!
-Agroecological orchard: This is other of the Project the family is looking into so as to have a healthy and low cost food supply. That is why volunteers with either farming knowledge or willingness to learn are highly needed. This project is particularly important since the family needs to count on healthy eating to keep up with the hard work of running the shelter as well as to raise them healthy and strong.
-English lessons: Since English is not taught in the girls’ school till high-school; it would be very beneficial for them to learn about the language, culture and to spend quality time with the foreign volunteers. English is also a very valuable skill since the girls’ dream is to one day take part in international horseback riding contests.
-New Projects: Since the shelter has many needs, the family is also open to new projects, suggestions and proposals from volunteers to make the shelter and their lives a bit better.
Volunteers’ duties: Volunteers’ duties are not fixed and they can be adapted according to the volunteer background, interest, knowledge, etc. They are all mainly animal care-related, building, maintenance, caring and helping. Veterinary students can take care of more specific duties under the supervision of the shelter’s main vet.
There are also duties related to promoting the Shelter’s activities. Volunteers can share the activities both with the local community and their home country to raise awareness, create fund risings, etc. This shelter really needs help both from private and public institutions, individuals and volunteers who can help either economically or by working in the shelter.
Starting date and duration of the program: This program is open year-round, but because of weather conditions in Argentina, September to April is the best season given the warmer temperatures. However, the Shelter’s doors are always open to welcome volunteers who would like to commit for a period of at least 2 months up to 6 months. As we know the duties at the shelter are a bit too stressful, we recommend a period of 3 months. Volunteers can work from Monday to Friday for at least 4 hours a day. Of course, if the volunteer feels like it, he/she can stay for as long as they wish!
Requirements: Have at least an intermediate level of Spanish since the family members cannot speak English; Claudia is the only one who has an elementary level of English. You need to be patient, flexible and be more than willing to help those animals in need!
-Be part of a project run by a family who loves animals and lives for them despite their reduced income. Be involved in such a rewarding activity as working with disabled children in equine therapy.
–Experience a complete different reality and learn different ways of living
– Learn everything experts on horses Claudia and Jorge can teach you
– Improve the quality of life of a whole family and the shelter. The shelter receives a donation every time a volunteer enrolls in their program.
-Live and work in a beautiful region of Argentina, Calamuchita, in one of the country’s most famous provinces: Córdoba
Infinite possibilities and the chance of a life-time experience are awaiting you! Want to join us?