General Information
What to Bring
| Expenses
Pre-Clinic Training | Travel Plans
Accommodations | Volunteer Assignments

Being a RAVS volunteer is all about dependability and initiative. To be an effective volunteer and to get the most out of your experience, you must be well prepared.

The following information details what will be expected of you as a volunteer. These guidelines are important for successful functioning of the clinics, optimal learning experiences, and, most importantly, patient and volunteer safety. We take them VERY seriously. Be sure you are able to meet all requirements before applying to participate.

General Information
Field clinics can be a physically and mentally challenging experience. The work is hard and the hours are long. You should expect to rise early in the morning and work for as many hours as are required to complete the clinic, often late into the evening with minimal breaks.

All volunteers are expected to be team players and remain with the group throughout the trip. You should be prepared to live and work under a variety of conditions. The facilities that we stay in are safe, but often pretty basic. They include classroom floors, gyms, and tents. Often bathrooms, showers, and air conditioning are non-functional or non-existent. We try to make it as comfortable as possible, but we expect all volunteers to adapt to whatever conditions we are met with.

There are lots of other opportunities for travel and learning that are more comfortable than field clinics with RAVS. We are all about delivering the maximum amount of high-quality veterinary care to animals in difficult situations. Our volunteers' primary concern is the welfare of their patients. Our teams work together as a unit regardless of the circumstances. Failure to bring an adequate sense of humor can lead to considerable discomfort!


What to Bring
You must bring the equipment listed here. While there are usually places to buy sundries on most trips, such facilities may not be available every day and may not be particularly well stocked.


Do not bring fancy clothes, large cameras or other valuables.


Travel: Volunteers are responsible for transportation to and from the designated meeting site, and all ground transportation during the trip. On some trips the team will move daily to a new site and you will need reliable transportation throughout the week

We highly encourage you to arrange ride-shares with others on your clinic team both to conserve resources and to reduce the number of vehicles travelling with the caravan. It is very possible to participate with a limited budget if you are willing to economize and network with other team members.

For additional information, see the Travel Information page.

Food and Lodging:Once the team has assembled at the meeting location, basic meals and lodging will be provided by the community for the duration of the trip. Volunteers are responsible for all hotel accommodations, meals and any other expenses before the stated meeting time and after the team departs the final clinic site.

Surgical Gloves: All veterinary students are required to bring 5-10 pair of sterile surgeon's gloves in their size for each week of clinics. Veterinarians are not required to supply surgical gloves.

Misc: Your only other expense will be incidentals, such as snacks or souvenirs "on the road".

Pre-Clinic Training
All RAVS volunteers will be required to submit a score of 80% or higher on the online evaluation at least 30 days before your scheduled trip. New scores must be submitted annually regardless of prior RAVS participation.

A surgical skills assessment will be administered at the start of each clinic to all veterinary students wishing to participate in surgery. The assessment will include basic knot tying and suture patterns. Details on specific requirements will be provided in the volunteer training materials. Students MUST pass this assessment to participate in surgery during the clinic.

For additional information, see the Volunteer Training section.

Travel Plans
Travel details for each trip are listed on the Schedule page, via the VIEW DETAILS link under the your particular trip. All volunteers are required to submit their travel information, including flight or vehicle information no later than 30 days prior to their scheduled trip.

To submit travel information, see the Travel Information page.


Sleeping arrangements
will generally involve camping in a community center, auditorium or vacant house. We make every effort to make sure you are reasonably comfortable, but you should be prepared for whatever accommodations are available.

Food and amenities are variable. If you have any particular dietary requirements, you should bring some packaged food along. While our hosts work to provide both vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals, content and quality vary. On most trips, vegan options are very limited. On the other side, in some communities, excellent vegetarian food is served and those who feel they must have animal protein in their diet should bring back-up supplies as well.
Having some personal snacks like granola bars, dried fruit and nuts, peanut butter, etc., is a good idea for all team members.

Most locations will have showers. However, a large team of volunteers can put significant strain on local resources and plumbing and or hot water does not always work. You do not have a constitutional right to a shower!

Our volunteers are courteous to hosts and are grateful for what is provided. Questions about food or accommodations should be directed to the team leader, who will handle all problems. Complaining to community residents or hosts is grounds for dismissal.

Volunteer Assignments
Clinic assignments are made based on prior experience, volunteer interests and clinic or team needs. You will be expected to work as a team and share in all duties. This includes clean up, packing, paperwork, instrument prep, and occasionally cooking. Be ready to pitch in and lift boxes, scrub, and sweep. We make an effort to share work equitably, but if you do an extra sterilization or laundry detail, you should see it as a character-building experience. If you don't want to get your hands dirty, this is not the group for you.

Every effort is made to maintain volunteer safety. All volunteers must read and agree to comply with the RAVS Safety Policy, which includes COVID-19 vaccination, health insurance requirements and rabies prophylaxis recommendations. Additionally, if you have any relevant health concerns, it is essential that the trip leader know about them, as emergency medical care is sometimes limited.

By participating in a RAVS clinic, you are agreeing to release The Fund for Animals, The Humane Society of the United States, its staff, and the supervising professionals from liability for injuries that may occur during the trip or while traveling to the site .