LIFE welcomes energetic and self-motivated volunteers to work on site in Bulgaria. Jobs and hours vary by the season but can include:
Helping administer medical treatment to dogs, cats and horses
Giving loving attention, including walks and grooming, to rescued dogs
Exercising horses (if the volunteer has the required skills)
Assisting with Outreach Work in local communities
Serving as a general support to Lucy in her daily duties
Accommodation options when you volunteer
Our nearest big town, Sliven, is around a 25 minute drive away. There are a range of accommodation options there, including Airbnb properties, as well as a selection of hotels, guest houses and apartments. Having your own transport is ideal, as links between the Sliven and our site are infrequent. However, Sliven does have a train station, and it might be possible to travel from there to our local train station (about a ten minute trip), and arrange for one of our team to come and meet you. There is also a more local accommodation available at times, so in any case, the first step is to get in touch with Lucy via the contact form to discuss options.
We do have a caravan available to host volunteers, but the conditions are very basic and do not suit everyone! We are currently unable to host guests in the caravan at present, but we hope this will change and that we will be able to welcome volunteer helpers again soon.
If you feel you would like to volunteer please Contact us for further details.
Some quotes and stories from our volunteers...
"This trip of a lifetime started when sitting outside one hot Spanish evening listening to a clip of Lucy Irvine Radio 4 - Robinson Crusoe.. Alex my son came outside listened too and when I said I'd like to go there, where is it, Bulgaria, where? I'll come along, road trip, he's an HGV driver and driven horses nearby so we agreed yes, we'll drive..... This was to be a new adventure, I've had years of Pony Club Volunteering but we've never actually volunteered before! read more...
"We have been following Lucy's work for a while. After raising money for her by selling homemade biscuits, we wanted to give it to her in person so decided to do a weeks volunteering as it would give us an insight into Lucy's life and what she has accomplished so selflessly and of course we wanted to meet the animals we see on her Facebook page, read more...
"To be honest: I was quite nervous before my arrival at L.I.F.E. I didn’t know what was laying ahead of me. I didn’t know Lucy, I didn’t know the facilities and I didn’t know the animals. Additionally, I was going to spend Christmas and New Year’s in a different country, far away from my family and friends, read more...
"If you love animals, you'll enjoy making new canine friends at LIFE. The only trouble is there are more than 40 of them, and they all need exercise, so the more volunteers - or the more time one has to volunteer - the better. Unfortunately mine was limited, but there are few things more rewarding than making these animals happy."
"Volunteering for Lucy at LIFE changed MY life.
The Bulgarian countryside is the beautiful setting for the important work undertaken by Lucy Irvine and her team. Over the course of the week, I undertook varied tasks including; dog walking, puppy socialising, administering treatments and medication, nursing tiny kittens, outreach work in the Roma ghettos and trips into the town for vet and food runs.
The experience I gained at LIFE, enabled me to pursue a career change. I now have my dream job, working at an animal rescue in the UK. Through LIFE, I’ve made friends for life in Bulgaria and plan to return asap 🙂"
‘’I had worked abroad before, for charities, as veterinary nurse, and knew the work might not always be pleasant, and could be both challenging and fulfilling, as it proved to be.
…I did basic health checks on the dogs and cats at the haven, helping Lucy decide who needed to go to the vet. Plus, I carried out treatments and gave prescribed medications.
...During Outreach work, I helped with preventative health care, such as deworming and de-fleaing animals. I was privileged also to visit the Bulgarian vet practice Lucy uses most. They recognised me as a vet nurse and were sympathetic to and supportive of Lucy’s work.
Yes, there were frustrations and dark moments, as animal welfare in Bulgaria is generally so far behind the UK, but it was so rewarding as a nurse to be able to help animals in real need, both practically and via giving advice.
To any nurse thinking of volunteering, go with an open mind, be flexible and adaptable and you will have a unique and valuable experience."
"We went round and said hello to the dogs cleaned, fed and watered them. I took them 2 at a time for walks in the beautiful countryside The dogs truly amazed me because even though they come from awful backgrounds, not one of them was threatening, it was all tails wagging. All they wanted was a kind hand and love. We took them to a vet if needed. Emotionally, seeing the state some of the dogs arrived in, I felt a deep sadness and shame that humans could be so cruel but then I felt joy the dogs are safe at the haven. It was a beautiful experience."
"I did a stint with Lucy in 2017 and would recommend it to anyone.I really found the whole experience incredible. Walking the dogs was a pleasure - sitting with a traumatised animal was amazing - helping the dogs, in just a very small way, was incredibly rewarding.
My most memorable experience was this. Lucy and I went to the ghetto to meet a very poor family and help their horse. On the way back we came across a thin dog whose whole body jerked with uncontrollable movements. Lucy explained that this was most likely the result of the dog once having Distemper. That dog was in a bad state. It was Fate that I noticed her. Her name is Butter and she is now in Lucy`s care and doing very well.“
“We spent a wonderful few hours with Lucy in her horse and cart, visiting cases in need and sponsored animals, to check on their welfare and hand out food. Then we tried to socialise some of the rescued dogs at Lucy’s, and brush out their matted hair. I think we did a decent job, the nicer they got the messier we did, so we must have been doing something right!
Since our visit, we have both taken in Bulgarian dogs from the haven and we couldn’t be happier!"
Laura and Sarah
If you cannot visit, another voluntary but essential job you may be able to help with, is raising much needed funds. Could you organise a raffle, hold a coffee morning or run a marathon? Please visit our fundraising page to find out more.