Volunteering in Taiwan. The best way to make new friends.

There are probably only a handful of situations where shoveling poop, cleaning cages, or building pens could be labeled as a fun experience, but this past Saturday, everyone at TAO was all smiles. Once a month, TAO works with the PACK Sanctuary, a shelter for over 400 animals needing to be adopted. Tasks often range from painting, to cleaning, and building homes. Saturday was no exception.

The PACK is run by an incredible team of super-human individuals. For them, this is a full-time job and breaks are often few and far between with animals needing to be fed, walked, and given medicine ’round the clock. Volunteering at the PACK, not only helps the animals get more attention and prepared for adoption, but it gives the employees a chance to relax, even if only for a few minutes.

Our main task for that day was to build a new shelter for the goats who were being contained between the pens of dogs. For the goats, this was a stressful and loud atmosphere, which is why they needed their own separate space. Tom, the site manager, had all the materials ready by the time we arrived. We split our group of 20 into three teams: cleaners, builders, and painters.


Most members who were put into teams had never met before. Some were parents, others were students, and the rest were returning TAO members and travelers. It felt great to see drastically different people being brought together for the same cause. Despite the differences, every team member clicked so easily while they worked. The low murmur of conversation quickly evolved into a ruckus of laughter that could be heard over the hundreds of barking dogs.

Tasks finished one-by-one and everyone found themselves back at the goat pen where the final adjustments were being made. We were impressed with the result and snapped a photo to record the fruits of our labor.

We managed to wrap things up right as it started raining heavily and headed back down the mountain towards Taipei. The adventure may not have been as thrilling as hiking, trekking, or river tracing, but friendships were definitely made that day and everyone was proud of the result. Thanks PACK Sanctuary, Tom, and Stu for the memories.

Until next time, be responsible, be caring, be yourself, and most of all, be adventurous.