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Leave footprints as you travel, and the animals you help will leave pawprints on your heart.

"Be the change you want to see in the world."

~Mahatma Gandhi

Leaving Pawprints connects travelers with animal shelters across the globe. We lay the foundation by communicating with the shelters to find out what support they need.

It's up to you to choose how you help.

"Figure out what breaks your heart in the world. That’s your purpose. Find the folks working to fix that thing in the world and join them. Those are your people."

~Glennon Doyle

Animal lovers know firsthand the heartbreak of encountering abused and homeless animals in the street. There are many ways to make a positive impact when you travel, but perhaps no greater joy for those of us with a soft spot for pawed creatures is volunteering with animals abroad.

At Leaving Pawprints, we believe that giving back shouldn’t cost you money. So, we’ve connected with animal shelters across the globe to learn about their volunteer needs. We give you the details that many costly international volunteer programs hide behind a paywall.

What does that mean for you? The opportunity to tap into your independent globetrotter ways, communicating directly with the animal shelter of your choice, allowing the two of you to decide how you can help the most.

Whether your travel plans allow for a single visit to drop off cat litter or a month-long volunteer escapade walking dogs, you and the shelter can work together to arrange a plan that creates the balance you want between volunteering and sightseeing.

We want you to have a "pawsome" time! Read the FAQ below for answers to common questions.

1Are there any fees to use Leaving Pawprints?
No. We wholeheartedly believe in free access to the information we share.
2Does Leaving Pawprints help coordinate animal shelter visits?
If you'll be visiting a Spanish speaking shelter and need help translating, reach out to us on our contact page. We're happy to lend a paw. For all other languages, we recommend using Google Translate. You can even download the app and use it offline at the shelter. As a whole, though, we have a "paws-off" kind of policy—we believe that you and the shelter will enjoy a more meaningful experience by taking the intermediary (us) out of it.
3What should I bring to the shelter?
Sneakers, clothes you don't mind getting dirty, and water are must-haves. We also recommend wearing pants to cut back on love scratches from animals happy to see you. Unless you coordinated with the shelter otherwise, it's best to assume that you'll spend time outdoors. So, prepare accordingly based on the climate you're in.
4Am I expected to donate?
In most cases, you're not required to donate to the animal shelter. However, a small selection of animal shelters request a donation (usually a designated amount) in order to volunteer. We let you know on our volunteer page if a shelter has a donate-to-volunteer policy. Even if the shelter doesn't have such a policy, Leaving Pawprints encourages volunteers to donate if your budget allows. When interviewing the animal shelters, we asked them what donations they're in most need of. So, all the items you see on our animal shelter pages are direct requests.