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Volunteer in Santorini at the Santorini Animal Welfare Association

Witnessing animal neglect led me to the Santorini Animal Welfare Association (SAWA).  I volunteered for a few days and it was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in 14 months of traveling.


Santorini Animal Welfare Association

It was this puppy’s first time seeing the sea!  Volunteer to walk dogs to the beach at the Santorini Animal Welfare Association.


Volunteering in Santorini

If you’re vacationing in Santorini, why not volunteer to walk a dog to the beach?  What could be better?!  This takes a short three hours in the morning and makes a real difference in a dog’s life.  You’ll be rewarded with lots of affection and gratitude.


If you’re flying from Santorini to Germany, Denmark or Switzerland, please consider being an escort.

Animal escorts are desperately needed to get animals off the island and delivered to their “forever homes”.  There is no inconvenience or cost to you – you are literally just a person (hero) associated with the animal.  SAWA completes all the paperwork and delivers the animal to the airport or ferry and a volunteer receives the animal at your destination.  More information in German here.


Consider making a donation to the Santorini Animal Welfare Association

Santorini Animal Welfare Association

Happy dogs get a break from the shelter and one-on-one attention during a walk to the beach.


You can also make a donation via Paypal by using the link on the SAWA Facebook page or on their website.


You can become 
a member of SAWA for an 
annual subscription fee 20 € ($28 US).


Adopt a Dog from Santorini

You can adopt a dog from Santorini.  Pictures of available animals are updated frequently on SAWA’s Facebook page which you can “Like” here: Santorini Animal Welfare Association on Facebook.


Support Animal Welfare Groups Associated with SAWA


If You Witness Animal Abuse or Neglect in Santorini

Please follow the guidelines explained at the bottom of this previous post to be of help.



  1. It is not enough to cry and feel sorry for them. We brought 2 doggies home to California Lambis and Fotis they lived the life, this was in 2007, happy ending spoiled doggies, we are ready to go back just to rescue more loving doggies! Please Do It! it is not very expensive and sooo rewarding! Agape! Dog backwards equal GOD! Please contact me to make arrangements to save as many as we can!

    • Ella
      Is it a difficult process to take a dog or a cat back to the United states ?

      • HI Lisa, Some paperwork and time would be involved. I do not know the rules or procedures. Please contact the Santorini Animal Welfare Association for procedures. If you want to save an animal you could also accompany it on a flight to mainland Europe where it can be adopted which could be arranged by SAWA.

  2. I just got back from santorini and spent 3 of my 5 days crying over the animals – mainly the beautiful cats…I tried to convince myself in some ways they are happy because during tourist season many visitors are kind and feed them scraps of food – me being one of them… and tried to believe they are happy because they are free to roam and play with one another … but what breaks my heart is they have no considlstent food, water, or any soft places to sleep- while I was there I welcomed 8 wild cats into the villa we rented in Oia – they ate well as I bought them all our leftovers and bought 8 boxes of cat food…they even slept in my bed! These cats were the cleanest most adorable appreciative animals I have ever come in contact with…I spoke to the cats in a soft voice… they listened to me and they knew I was going to take care of them while I could and not shoe them away like many others do… I am writing this because these animals need help- in the winter when the tourists stop coming and locals leave I worry these poor beautiful animals will starve, be cold and be neglected… I hear d through talking to many shop owners that there is a wonderful woman In Oia named Anna that tries to feed the cats …I left her some money as a donation to help a bit with food but I can’t imagine one person can feed hundreds of cats – I want to help in any way I can – but just don’t know how or what I can do. Please let me know how I can make a difference… ❤️❤️
    from Boston

    • Kim, I understand the heartbreak and appreciate you caring about the welfare of the animals of Santorini. “Sterila” is the name of the organization working to help the cats of Santorini. Please find their website here: http://

  3. Do you need to apply to volunteer there or u can just rock up to SAWA on your holiday and volunteer?

    • Hi Leanne. You can just show up in the morning about 8 AM.

  4. Is there anyway to bring a dog back to Canada? I leave tomorrow at 5 am.

    I have seen many dogs, even a puppy that I would give them a great life.

    • Luke, I do not know what the regulations are but I think you would need more than 24 hours to arrange something like that. I would suggest you contact the Santorini Animal Welfare Association but you are leaving in a few hours and there is not enough time.

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