Volunteer Internships

Aanifeira is delighted to receive international volunteers for internships and they play an important role in the running of the shelter.

International volunteers are most welcome from any of the following fields of work:-

  • Qualified veterinarians
  • Veterinarian students
  • Animal Care students
  • Members of the general public with a love of animals

Veterinary Volunteers

Open to fully qualified veterinarians or from 2nd year onward students from universities around the world.  Vets and vet student are welcome to come for either one or two weeks or longer to work with companion animals doing the following:    

General animal handling and restraint /  Handling injured animals / General physical & clinical examination / Collect samples (blood, urine, faeces) / Administer medication by oral SC, IM, IV Routes / General Anaesthesia / Vaccinations / Microchipping / Deworming. 

Please note that we are NOT an exclusive spay/neuter clinic and that some other surgeries are performed but always under the supervision of our vets.    Some participation is permitted in surgeries but also just looking on and learning is part of this depending on the surgery at the time.  It should be noted that there may be other veterinary interns (4 max.) here at the same time as you are.

We usually have 1 or 2 surgeries a day during the week depending on bookings and Friday afternoon is free for the volunteers however if there are surgeries on you are welcome to stay for the afternoon too.  Saturday is very busy with many visitors/adoptions/volunteers and consultations from the general public.   

Work also includes treating any problems that arise with Aanifeira’s own resident dogs and cats living at the shelter. 

There is a strict adoption policy for new owners and included in this, is the veterinary backup/support for each animal leaving the shelter.

Animal Care Volunteers

We are very happy to receive student interns taking an Animal Care course. 

Students would work under the guidance of an Aanifeira staff member and/or experienced volunteer in the following areas:-

Exercising dogs / Basic health check-up dogs and cats / Grooming – bathing for dogs / Dog clipping / Feeding – cats and dogs / Health & hygiene – cats and dogs.

For those students with a desire to be a vet nurse there would be the possibility of sitting in/observing with the veterinarian on consultations, etc.

Members of the public wanting to volunteer

Members of the public with, not only a love of animals, but a background knowledge of construction, gardening, electrician, plumbing, etc. would be most welcome to help out on general duties around the shelter.

The majority of staff at the shelter speak English so we are sure you will feel at home


Aanifeira is a non-profit association relying quite largely on donations and therefore needs to rent an apartment for volunteers when they come here.  The apartment is located in the centre of Santa Maria da Feira and in order to maintain it, we need to ask our volunteers to pay Euros 15 each per day to help cover expenses.   

We do require prepayment for the apartment one month prior to students coming and information on how this is done and the name of the bank, together with other feedback on what to bring along, will be provided before the start of the internship date.  

The apartment has three bedrooms (2 twin bedded rooms and one room with two bunk beds for 4 students).  Up to eight students can be accommodated at one single time.   Although this number is not always reached at one time, at least 4 or more students will be accommodated throughout most of the year.  Students should be aware beforehand that they may have to expect this type of situation and if the house happens to reach maximum capacity, then there must be discipline, understanding and tolerance amongst all students so that everyone can enjoy their experience with us.   It should be noted that those students coming on their own may have to share a room as individual rooms are not always available.

The apartment has all amenities such as fridge, stove, toaster, electric kettle, washing machine, microwave, TV, music and free Wifi.  There is close proximity to supermarkets, shopping centre and small stores all of which are located within walking distance of the apartment.

Castle at Santa Maria da Feira

Santa Maria da Feira is located about 35 kms south of Porto in the north of Portugal.  Historically important, it boasts an emblematic medieval  castle dating back to the 12th century.

In late July /early August, for around 10 days, one of the largest medieval fairs in the country takes place.  “Viagem Medieval de Santa Maria da Feira” as it is known is held in the heart of the town and visitors can enjoy gastronomy, traditions and culture which portray the daily life in a medieval village.  Regional battles, horse tournaments, banquets, royal parades and weddings of that period are also displayed during the fair. 

Health Insurance

We strongly advise all international volunteers to take our their own health insurance whilst doing their voluntary work at Aanfeira.  For those who come from within the EU community a European Health Card can be obtained free of charge.

For non-EU volunteers please contact an insurance company or your local travel agent for obtaining health insurance coverage whilst in Europe.


We provide transfers to and from the airport – one of our team will meet volunteers at the airport on arrival holding up a plaque with the name ‘AANIFEIRA’ on it and do a drop off on final day back to the airport or into Porto if desired.  

Daily transfers to and from the apartment and the shelter are also provided for all volunteers.

Working hours

Monday to Friday

  • 09H00 to 20H00 – divided into 2 shifts 09H00>17H00 or 13H00>20H00  (lunch 13H00>14H00)
  • NOTE:  It will sometimes be necessary for interns to have their work split into different shifts: Morning or Afternoon   This will be the case for when we only have TWO intern students at one time with one taking the 1st shift – 09H00 > 17H00 and the other taking the 2nd shift – 13H00 > 20H00.  This is so that the Aanifeira vets can ensure that all will run smoothly throughout the day.


09H00 to 17H00 (lunch 13H00>14H00)


Close proximity to public transport for going sightseeing.  Places to see:

Espinho Beaches

Espinho – 15 kms away – resort town located right on the coast.  With 8 kms of white sandy beaches some with natural rocky inlets, there is an excellent opportunity to enjoy these beautiful surroundings.  Beach volleyball world championships take place in the summer months right on the beach attracting people from many parts of the world to see them.

There are plenty of good seafood restaurants along the oceanfront and in summer, beach bars are extremely popular.

Porto– 35 kms from Santa Maria da Feira – Express bus takes 40 mins  

Porto at dusk

Designated an UNESCO World Heritage site for its historic buildings and outstanding monuments, highlights of Portugal’s second largest city include the formidable Porto cathedral, the Torre dos Clérigos and the conspicuous Port wine lodges that dominate the hillside of Vila Nova de Gaia.  Although largely industrialised, Porto offers a compelling synthesis of ancient and contemporary attractions such as visiting the Port wine cellars, Sé Cathedral, Casa da Música, Torre dos Clérigos and the historic “ribeira” area located right on the Douro River waterfront and filled with small restaurants and bars.

Porto Barco RabeloPort wine cellars are all located in Vila Nova de Gaia (opposite side of the river to Porto) and there is an opportunity to visit them and learn about how Port wine is made.  Port wine tastings are also provided afterwards with an explanation from a guide on the different styles of Ports available.

Enjoy a cruise on the River Douro or just wander the old streets of Porto, there is always plenty to see and do.

Porto Accommodation
If volunteers are looking for inexpensive accommodation in Porto we recommend the YES HOSTEL located in central Porto at the following address:     Rua Arquitecto Nicolau Nazoni 31, 1100-527 Porto –   Tel: (00351) 222 082 391 – infoporto@yeshostels.com   Reservations can be made on line on this link – YES HOSTELS.
Travel Details
The closest airport to Aanifeira is PORTO airport (300 kms north of Lisbon) and it is serviced by many low cost airlines i.e. Ryanair, Easyjet, Air Berlin, Transavia as well as the usual European airline services i.e. TAP Portuguese airlines.

If travelling by train from Lisbon to Porto ideally it is best to get a train to ESPINHO which is the closest train station to Aanifeira.  Portuguese Railways are efficient and inexpensive to travel on.

Apartment bookings

Ideally those interested in coming to Aanifeira on a volunteer basis should advise us with at least a minimum of 30 days.  Accommodation is sometimes difficult and it best to book early!

A information profile form is available on request which will help give us details of who you are and where your main interests lie.

If you are interested in doing volunteer work with us at Aanifeira please contact international@aanifeira.pt for further details.



60 Responses to Volunteer Internships

  1. Alex Hatch says:

    I am a vet working in London – I qualified last year 2010 and have been working at Village Vet (see website) for one year now. I am looking to go away for 2-4 weeks to a clinic as a volunteer and help with veterinary care. I am most interested in getting some surgery done while I am away aswell (mainly neutering), to increase my surgical exposure and experience.
    I wondered if there was a position such as this available here?
    Kind Regards,
    Alex Hatch

  2. Zofia Trzeciak says:


    I am a fourth year Veterinary student studying in the Uk. Myself and two friends are looking to spend some time during summer 2012 at a clinic abroad. We are especially keen to improve our surgical skills. Do you have any spaces? Thanks.

    Zofia Trzeciak

    • Aanifeira says:

      Hi Zofia,
      Thank you for your message and your interest in Aanifeira. I will reply to you directly through our email address with full details of what we can offer you. Many tks.

  3. jenny says:

    Im a 4th year veterinary student and was looking to spend 1-2 weeks abroad during the summer 2012 and i was wondering what was avalible this summer?

  4. María Martí says:


    I am a new graduated spanish vet, who is living in the UK since last March. I found your website on the BVA and I would like to do vet voluntereer for a month. I have had experience in practice in the Uk and in Spain during the University. I can provide you my references and my CV in case you accept me.


  5. Shona Black says:


    I am currently studying veterinary medicine at Edinburgh University. Myself and a fellow veterinary student would be interested in volunteering in the summer of 2012 with the hope of enhancing our surgical skills and gaining more clinical experience. Would it be possible for us to come this summer for at least 2 weeks?

    Thank you for your time.
    Shona Black

  6. Bibiane Schaak says:

    I´m a graduated vet from Germany and I currently live in the UK.
    I have a few month work experience, but I would love to do some charity work and improve my veterinary (esp. my surgical) skills at the same time.
    As I´m not employed at the moment, I would like to know if you have a space for 10-14 days in January or February.
    Kind regards,

  7. Victoria Fox says:


    I graduated from the Royal Veterinary college in July 2011, and have been working in a practice in the UK since. I am looking to do some volunteer work abroad, mainly involving neutering and re-homing programs. I was wondering if you are looking for any veterinary volunteers?

    Best Wishes

    Victoria Fox

  8. laura cole says:

    Hi, I sent an email to the main email address. I graduated in July- spent time volunteering in India and Egypt over the last 5 months dealing dogs, cattle, sheep, goats and working equids. I have a job starting mid January but would be very keen to come and assist at the charity for some weeks before I start. Please let me know if I an be of assistance.

  9. Emma Donnelly says:

    I am fourth year vet student at Glasgow Uni, myself and a friend were hoping to volunteer at your clinic in the september of 2012 if possible.
    Thank you

  10. Christianne gilbert says:

    I my name is Christi I am a 4th year vet student from australia, I will be in Portugal from July to September 2012 and I would love to come and do some volunteer work at your clinic for a few weeks during that time. I have worked at a vet during my 1st 3 years of university and I am currently in brazil volunteering at a vet clinic in Florianopolis.

    Thanks 🙂

  11. Mia says:

    I’m a recent graduate and was looking to do some voluntary veterinary work end of August-September. Do you need any voluntary vets during this period? I am looking to gain more experience in surgery as well as medicine?
    Thank You

  12. seanna Fenwick says:

    I am a currently a 4th year vet student at Dublin University and I am interested in volunteering at your clinic summer 2013.

    • Aanifeira says:

      Hi Seanna,
      Thank you for your message and your interest in Aanifeira. I will reply to you directly through our email address with full details of what we can offer you. Many tks.

  13. Jordan says:

    I am currently a 3rd year vet student at the University of Glasgow and I was interested in volunteering at your clinic at the end of may 2013.

  14. Abbey says:

    I am a 3rd year vet student at the University of Glasgow and was interested in seeking an internship opportunity with your clinic, if not in 2013, then possibly in spring of 2014. I have a couple of friends that might be interested in joining me. Are there any openings for us to come and volunteer? Many thanks.

  15. Vanessa says:

    Boa noite,

    sou estudante do 5º ano de Medicina Veterinária na UTAD em Vila Real e moro em S. Miguel de Souto, em Santa Maria da Feira, gostaria muito de participar num estágio de Verão na vossa instituição.


    Vanessa Gomes.

  16. jeen says:

    Hi, I am a 3rd year vet student looking at doing a clinical placement as well as volunteering for your clinic in August 2014. Please write back if there are openings for that period! Hope to hear from you soon, cheers!

    • Aanifeira says:

      Many tks for your message. I’ll reply back to you through our email channel to be able to explain things better for you.
      Best regards

  17. Chris says:

    Hello, I am a vet student currently in my final year at the RVC in London and due to graduate in July. Myself and a few of my friends are interested in doing a neutering clinic after graduation and before we start looking for jobs. We have some experience of spays and neutering already, but would really like to improve our skills and confidence!
    Do you have any places available, ideally for this August?
    I look forward to hearing from you!

  18. Shereen graham says:

    Hi my name is Shereen graham.i am an experienced rvn and very keen to use my skills in this project.look forward to hearing from you to discuss further.

    • Shereen graham says:

      Keen to use my skills and the experience.

    • Aanifeira says:

      Hello Shereen
      We have tried to send you an email but it keeps getting returned. If you have a different email address please let us have it to get in touch with you. Thank you!

  19. Sara says:

    Hello, I send you an email day before yesterday. I look forward to hearing from you :)!

  20. Emma says:


    I emailed you last week about volunteering with you and was wondering if you received the email?

    Many thanks,

  21. Chris says:


    I sent you an e mail regarding a volunteer work at your clinic. Did you receive the e mail?


  22. Emma Onyejekwe says:

    Hi there,
    I am very interested about volunteering with you next year in february (as this will be around world spay day). I am currently working in a vets in the UK, but am taking a year out. I would love to get some more information about volunteering and if it is possible for me to do this. I look forward to hearing from you.

    • Aanifeira says:

      Hello Emma we have replied to you through our normal email channel. Many tks for your interest.

  23. Emma Dillon says:

    Hi there,
    I am very interested in volunteering with you in the summer. I sent you an email with a bit about myself last week. Did you receive the email? Thanks.

    • Aanifeira says:

      Hello Emma we have replied through our email to you directly. Thank you very much for your interest in our shelter.

  24. Niamh Casey says:

    Hi all at Aanifeira, my name is Nianh and I am just finished 3rd year veterinary medicine n UCD Ireland… I was wondering if it would b possible to see practice with you for 2weeks next summer? I will be after studying the reproduction module and would love to see and maybe even participate in a spay/neuter. However, I understand perfectly if that opportunity is not possible. I may too late booking for next as I hear you are a very popular clinic. Any help or advice for my situation would be greatly appreciated. Best wishes.

  25. Niamh Casey says:

    Hi, I am a 4th year vet student looking at doing a clinical placement as well as volunteering for your clinic next summer (2016). Please write back if there are openings for that period! Hope to hear from you soon, cheers!

    • Aanifeira says:

      Hi Niamh
      Thank you very much for your email and interest in our shelter. We are getting in touch through the normal email channels to give you all the information you need! Tks again and best regards
      Aanifeira – Portugal

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