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Updated on February 29, 2016
Dog on a Beach in Barbados
Dog on a Beach in Barbados | Source
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Abused Chained Dog in Barbados | Source
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Sparky: A rescued Bajan Dog | Source

Around the globe, animals are at risk. Domestic dogs are lost. They find themselves wandering on the streets, facing a life of physical abuse and starvation. Dogs are snatched from their legal owners and taken to labs for experimentation or even butchered for food. Formerly loved pets may be surrendered to an animal shelter where their very existence now comes into question. In response to such actions, the International Humane Society and Soi Dogs, to name a few, have acted to protect this vulnerable sector of society.

In Barbados, where street dogs are very common and animal abuse is too, three organizations are addressing the issue. These are:

  • · The Hope Sanctuary: Newcastle, St. John, Barbados


  • · Barbados RSPCA:Cheltenham Lodge, Spring Garden
  • · The Ark Animal Welfare Society, Barbados: Salters, St. George


While all work hard to save animals from cruelty and other forms of abuse, this article will focus on The Ark.

The Ark

The Motto of The Ark is a quote from Buddha: “May all that have life be delivered from suffering.” Volunteers and staff attempt to put this into action every day. As a non-profit charity formed in 1998, this can be difficult. While Barbados is a small animal, the prevailing culture does not embrace animal welfare. Those who do own animals often neglect even the basics. Dogs go without sufficient water and food. Medical attention is ignored. A dog may live his or her entire life at the end of a chain, the collar becoming more and more embedded in the neck. For dogs that are loose, stoning, hanging and beatings are far too common.

While Barbados has in place animal protection legislation, the authorities do not react with any degree of concern. Perpetrators often escape without any form of punishment. The Ark sees the only hope is to change societal opinion through education. Youth become the target group. Through them, it is possible to alter the perception of what an animal is and how it must be treated. Through educating the next generation, The Ark hopes to create individuals who fully understand the responsibilities that are an integral component of dog (or any other pet) ownership.

With this in mind, The Ark invites children and their parents to their small but nonetheless spacious shelter. Dogs have ample room to run around. Fortunately, most dogs in Barbados are small. These date back to the original animals that came with the settlers. Larger dogs are the ones who have arrived later. They are frequently kept to guard property.

What the Ark Does

The Ark Animal Welfare Society follows the three “Rs” of animal welfare groups. They:

  • · Rescue
  • · Rehabilitate
  • · Rehome

The shelter has a no-kill policy making it difficult at times to provide every dog with the protection he or she deserves. They ease the burden of sheltering the dogs (and cats) at their kennel through fostering. While the focus is on dogs, they do assist in rehoming and finding foster families for cats.

The Ark will also provide assistance for those who want to spay or neuter their pet. This includes transportation to and from the veterinarian. The members feel passionately about what they are doing to improve the lot of dogs and cats on the island. This is why they volunteer their time and energy. Next time you visit beautiful Barbados – and it is a very beautiful island, spend some of your time doing something different. Spend part of a day visiting The Ark. They can always do with the help – especially the fostering and sponsoring of their dogs and their organization. In other words, show you care, Give back to the island in more than your tourist dollars and help a worthy cause.

The Ark can be found at


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    • Bonnie M D profile imageAUTHOR

      Bonnie Michelle Durtnall 

      2 years ago from Guelph, Ontario

      Thanks so much for your comment. The Ark does wonderful work. I met a couple of dogs people had adopted from there while I was in Barbados in January.

    • Linda Robinson60 profile image

      Linda Robinson 

      2 years ago from Cicero, New York

      Wow Bonnie what a tremendous hub. Bringing the awareness to what the Ark does to everyone that has a dog. You included a lot of essential informative information which is extremely helpful. It was a very interesting hub. I really enjoyed it. Look forward to reading many more. Sad yet heartfelt and knowing about this remarkable place. Linda


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