Working with animals at an animal shelter and sanctuary as a volunteer.
A lot of people dream about a job working with animals; feeding the animals and assisting the vet, it sounds like the most perfect job. But working with animals is so much more than this. Cleaning out the enclosures is more or less 75% of the work of an animals caretaker. Animals don’t have a toilet they can flush after doing their business. Another very important bit is knowledge. Every animal has their own specific needs and care. These needs and cares are part of the job of our professional staff. That’s why volunteers don’t work directly with the animals.
You don’t need any special qualifications as a volunteer, but you need to be enthusiastic and hard-working; with a loving heart for the animals and nature. You do need to be over 18 years and be able to work independently.
When people hear about our animal shelter-sanctuary often they are interested about our work, how we care for the animals and what goes on behind the scenes. If you lived abroad and are living now in Belgium, volunteering at De Zonnegloed is a great way to practise your Dutch, to enlarge your knowledge about animals or just to work in a fun environment with and around animals!
Volunteers help out with cleaning the enclosures and preparing food for the animals, they’ll learn about which leaves and fruits are edible and get to gather them and make enrichment items out of them for the animals. They assist with the maintenance of the grounds and other daily jobs, which gives them a unique view into our work at De Zonnegloed.
Not only with the animals
An animal shelter doesn’t need just animal caretakers. The grounds and the enclosures need to be maintained. Visitors who visit the park often like something to eat or drink during their stay and besides looking at the animals they would like to participate in activities. At Sanctuary De Zonnegloed there are different areas these tasks are part of, like ‘Development & Maintenance’ (Our Technical service is part of this area.) and ‘Visitors and Service’ (Which contains all educational and entertainment activities and the Self-service area.).
De Zonnegloed is situated close by Vleteren in a beautiful part of nature called ‘De Broeken’. Close by the cities Poperinge, Ieper, Diksmuide, Veurne and the coast. A place in nature where lots of extraordinary animals can live. The animal caretakers offer daily feeding moments and other surprising activities. This way all visitors can get to know the animals, like the small otters, the impressive eagle owls, ring-tailed lemurs, different birds of prey or the camels, in a fun and educational manner. At the moment over a hundred different kinds of animals are living at De Zonnegloed.