Animal AWARE (Animal Welfare Association - Rescue/Education) is a non-profit, non-governmental charitable organization for the rescue and welfare of abandoned or abused animals. It was founded in 1998 in Guatemala by Xenii Nielsen (USA), Gina Illescas (Guatemala), and Pamela Hirst- Prins (England).

Our mission:

Our mission is to reduce the suffering and improve the lives of domestic animals in Guatemala.

We believe that, as well as being a direct benefit to the animals, enabling people to understand their pets and improve the way they look after them will bring about very positive social and cultural improvements for Guatemalan society in general.

Animal AWARE Stories


Willa came to us with her brother, when they were a whole one month old, in April 2001. We brought her to the house when Piquito got adopted, thinking she was too young to be left to suffer loneliness. She is a very beautiful cat, though she wasn’t always as […]


Jota and his wife Mercedes were driving through an underpass in Guatemala City one rainy afternoon. “Stop!” she yelled, and he did.   Crouched by the wall was a handsome black and white adult cat, presumably sheltering from the rain. Being cat-friendly people they had a travelling cage in the […]

All the Way From Finland to Volunteer at Animal Aware

We don´t want to leave! That is the first sentence that comes into our mind. We love this place. Caring for the animals here is rewarding: Like Griffin, she was nice in the beginning but scared that we would be mean to her but now she is the most loving […]

Chester and Hershey

CHESTER and HERSHEY They were in Police custody but they had done no wrong. No, but wrong had been done to them. They had been put in a bowl and abandoned on the street in Sumpango, AWARE’s local town. The sleek, black, slightly menacing patrol unit cruised through the front […]


Better Living Quarters for the Dogs

World Animal Day Funds Improve Dog Pens! Thanks to all the generous donations we received for our World Animal day campaign on Causevox and at the Event, we were able to buy the materials to repair the dog pens.  The walls between pens have started going up, replacing the fencing […]

Update From Hound Heights

A lot has been happening at the Shelter recently! We would like to acknowledge and thank the wonderful people who have volunteered or contributed to help us continue running the shelter and promote animal welfare. We hosted a group of international students who came to volunteer. They were part of […]

World Animal Day 2016

Saturday October 1st – an all-day event for Family and Friends This year AWARE is celebrating World Animal Day (a few days early so as to take advantage of the weekend) at Suburbia Lounge in Antigua (4a Avenida norte No2) with Live Music, a Raffle, a Silent Auction, food specials, an […]

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