Loulé animal charity ARA – standing for Animal Rescue Algarve – has become the first Portuguese activity to receive hosting platform WorkAway’s “International Host of the Month” award.
The unique shelter and all those who work within it are delighted.
As volunteer coordinator Tiago explained, the WorkAway programme has given ARA “the chance to change the lives of hundreds of dogs and cats for the better, as well as connecting people who share the same love and respect for animals”.
Indeed the shelter’s founder Sid Richardson says WorkAway has been an integral part of ARA’s winning formula – a turnover of almost 200% in the form of adoptions.
As he explained last year, thanks to the steady stream of enthusiastic youngsters, all ARA’s animals get the attention they need to prepare them them for rehoming.
But Sid wasn’t aware then how much WorkAway candidates were going to enjoy their experience.
The organisation’s blog explains, the “very positive feedback from previous volunteers” led to ‘further investigation’ which showed ARA “proved totally worthy of the award”.
WorkAway has around 50,000 opportunities (meaning activities or destinations) in over 170 countries. In other words, ARA was up against ‘a lot of competition’.
For the full WorkAway article click here.
Meantime, the repercussions of ARA’s work at the ‘Cabanita’ shelter are not limited to the Loule area. They stretch further afield (have proved the saving grace for another shelter from Tavira (click here) and are two-pronged:
Animal Welfare – In just the last two years the charity has rescued, medically treated, sterilised, registered and rehomed over 500 dogs and cats. ARA’s contribution to animal population control has been of distinct importance in keeping animals off the streets, especially since anti-kennel cull laws came into force in 2018.
Tourism – ARA has hosted over 400 mainly international volunteers through the WorkAway scheme. These volunteer visitors to Portugal have made a positive contribution to local tourism and the economy and gone home to extoll the many benefits of Portugal to their own friends and family. Many of Cabanita volunteers have returned time and again, “often with others”, says the charity that is actually fighting its corner still in a ‘planning dispute’ with the local authority (click here).
For a heart-warming look at ‘a dog’s life at ARA’ click here. And if you have a bit of time and a box of hankies handy, visit this longer clip for a more comprehensive overview of what ARA/ Cabanita is all about (click here).