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“Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living creatures, Man will not find peace.”

These words of the great physician and philanthropist, Albert Schweitzer, are the basis of AWARE’s philosophy.

We are a non-profit organization and for more than 30 years we have been working – through education and neutering campaigns – to transform the lives of many animals who have suffered abuse, or have been abandoned on the hard streets of Guatemala. Currently we are caring for over 300 dogs and 30 cats, living in our shelter just outside Sumpango, Sacatepequez, and waiting for a family to give them the life that all pets deserve. All of our animals are neutered, vaccinated and dewormed.

AWARE (Animal Welfare Association – Rescue/Education) is a non-profit, non-governmental charitable organisation, founded in Guatemala in 1998 by Xenii Nielsen (USA), Gina Illescas (Guatemala), and Pamela Hirst- Prins (England). All three were already members of El Santuario de Los Animales, founded in 1992 by Xenii Nielsen, Pamela Hirst-Prins, and a number of local and foreign collaborators.

In 1998, Xenii, Gina and Pamela decided to form a separate group dedicated to the educational aspects of animal welfare, while El Santuario would concentrate on rescues and adoptions. For a number of reasons – largely Xenii’s and Gina’s inability to pass by an animal suffering on the street – this division of tasks never worked out. Xenii and Gina continued to rescue animals, and at first looked after them in their respective homes – Xenii in Antigua, and Gina in Guatemala City. But by the end of 1999 it had become obvious that larger premises were needed if AWARE was to fulfil the dream of a combined animal sanctuary, spay/neuter clinic, community veterinary service, and education centre. Hence the move to Sumpango, in January 2000.

We always need extra help at the shelter – so why not volunteer and gain some valuable experience while doing something extremely worthwhile for our furry friends?

Don’t have time – or live too far away – to volunteer? Help us with a donation! We always need things like dog- and cat-food, metal food bowls, medical supplies and building materials – even newspaper for lining cages in the Clinic. And of course you can simply donate whatever money you can afford to a very worthy cause.

Perhaps you’ve always dreamed of having a pet but can’t have one at home. Why not become the sponsor of one (or more) of our loving dogs or cats?

There are many ways in which you can make a difference to the lives of the animals at AWARE. All you need to do is decide which is the best option for you! You will find more information on each of these possibilities below.