max temp: 7°C

min temp: 3°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Saxmundham: Melissa’s Amazonian adventure supporting Peru Street Dogs inspires passion for animal care missions

12:11 23 August 2014

Melissa Ilston with her pet dog, before her travels.

Melissa Ilston with her pet dog, before her travels.

An animal-lover from Suffolk says her life-changing adventure caring for stray dogs in South America has inspired a passion to travel the world helping abandoned pets.


Melissa Ilston, 21, of Saxmundham, has recently returned from five weeks’ working with the Peru Street Dogs charity on the edge of the Amazon rainforest nurturing poorly pooches back to health.

After a 39-hour journey to the Peruvian city of Puerto Madonado, Miss Ilston was left in charge of the charity’s collection of stray dogs, which she cared for amid searing heat and basic facilities.

Rising each morning at 6am in the basic shack provided for her accommodation, the aspiring animal health worker,would feed her canine companions, take them for walks and provide medication to those in need.

Sadly, three of the 11 dogs under her care either escaped or needed to be put down, posing difficult decisions for the young animal-lover.

“It was really difficult at times and sad when the dogs didn’t make it but I’m quite proud of myself for doing it because I’d never been on holiday by myself, let alone to a country that far away,” she said.

“I think I’ve got the bug for travelling now and I’d like to go all around the world helping out at other animal rescue centres.”

Miss Ilston, who works with her father’s IT company MelBek, and has volunteered with the RSPCA rescue shelter in Martlesham, is planning her next foreign visit to work with Pepi’s Rescue in Spain later this year.

This time, however, she has promised Amber, her three-year-old cavalier King Charles spaniel, she won’t be gone for quite so long.

“She was so excited when I came back – I’ve never had a welcome like it,” Miss Ilston said.

Visit for information.



Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Anglian Daily Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Anglian Daily Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Anglian Daily Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

East Anglian Air Ambulance

The A134 at Assington is closed in both directions due to a serious single-vehicle crash.

The police investigation centre in Martlesham.

One woman was taken to hospital and 20 other people into police custody today after they were discovered in a lorry container.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne leaves the Treasury in London for the House of Commons, where Osborne will deliver his Autumn Statement. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday December 3, 2014. See PA story BUDGET Main. Photo credit should read: Hannah McKay/PA Wire

Chancellor George Osborne will declare a crisis in home ownership as he unveils a raft of measures he claims will see 400,000 new homes built across England.

Man who appeared drunk in Sudbury taken to hospital.

A man was taken to hospital after he was seen staggering in a road in Sudbury.

Izzy Alder

An 18-year-old woman who failed to arrive at school today has been found.

Tidal Surge around Suffolk's coast has caused major disruptions. Huge waves crash over sea defences in Southwold.

A predicted combination of high spring tides and strong winds from the north-west later this week has sparked a warning of potential flooding in coastal Suffolk.

Undated handout photo issued by ITV of Kieron Dyer who has been revealed as one of the contestants for I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! 2015. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday November 10, 2015. Also among the 10-strong line-up is Diana Princess of Wales biographer Lady Colin Campbell, fashion guru Susannah Constantine, Spandau Ballet's Tony Hadley, TV personality Yvette Fielding, X Factor choreographer Brian Friedman and Union J's George Shelley. See PA story SHOWBIZ Celebrity. Photo credit should read: ITV/PA Wire

NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

Kieron Dyer was given a rare night of luxury after winning a stay at the Jungle Boutique Hotel, but tensions are running high in the I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here camp.


Community leaders have chosen the organisation which will provide activities for the young people of a Suffolk market town as part of a £60,000-plus youth project.

Issy Mead celebrates Christmas

Each year, Stacy Mead proudly posts photos of her heavily adorned Christmas tree on Facebook, just like hundreds of other mum’s excitedly awaiting the arrival of that one magical day.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Digital Edition

Read the East Anglian Daily Times e-edition today E-edition

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24