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Volunteering at a Rescue Centre: Volunteers Week at Burns

by Burns Team Writer

Volunteers week is celebrating annually from the 1st – 7th of June. It’s a great opportunity to show appreciation for volunteerism and for the amazing charities who make a difference to the lives of humans and animals every day. This week is also a great opportunity to roll up your sleeves and volunteer yourself, which is exactly what Burns did!

Our Volunteering Journal

Burns events coordinator Gemma, and nutritional adviser Laura volunteered at Greenacres; a small, non-profit and Burns supported animal rescue centre in the beautiful Pembrokeshire countryside, and nutritional adviser Karen volunteered at Greyhound Rescue Wales; an amazing rescue and rehoming charity for greyhounds and lurchers in Wales. They volunteered for one day each, and were more than happy to share their experiences.

Laura’s Volunteers Week Experience:

“On arrival at Greenacres I was greeted by team member Charlotte, who incredibly, had remembered me from over a decade ago when I’d volunteered there for a summer in between studies! After a lovely little catch up, she brought out my first walking companion, a super sweet beagle called Chloe.

Unfortunately due to chronic ear problems, Chloe’s ear canals had been removed, but that didn’t seem to bother her one bit! If anything, her “seal like” quality only enhanced her deeply adoring eyes that stared into your very soul!

Next out of the door was collie Milo, and I couldn’t help but feel like I was being tested as this fella was blind. Although you wouldn’t have known it, he was as sure-footed as any fully-sighted dog, only misjudging when angling to pee in the hedge and ending up in it rather than by it!

Once Milo had said hello to a rescue pig, he was lead back to his kennel and swapped for Eddie. Eddie was the least people-oriented dog out of the bunch, and clearly didn’t mind who was walking him as long as he was on an adventure!

The final walk of the day was Ted’s. He was a beautiful cavalier who’d only arrived at the rescue that day, and was clearly feeling quite confused. We had a few cwtches before I coaxed him up the drive, and once we found our stride, his tail was high and wagging and his eyes bright. I was pleasantly surprised how well the dogs walked on a lead and thoroughly enjoyed our walks – I hope they did too!”

Gemma’s Volunteers Week Experience:

“I Arrived at 1pm to a warm welcome from Charlotte, who thanked us for coming down and volunteering our time. I volunteered with my sister and 4 year old son at Greenacres, Haverfordwest, which was an amazing experience.

First we were introduced to Chloe, a gorgeous deaf beagle who loved to run and roll around in mud! My son loved her and she was so good with kids, it was amazing to see she’d been left at the shelter!

Secondly we walked Milo, the sweetest and most adorable blind border collie who again got on like a dream with my son. Milo loved to stop and sniff about and even let my son cuddle him when he said goodbye!

After the walks were done, we got stuck in with some cleaning. We cleaned out a cat cattery to get it ready for two new arrivals, which involved sweeping up, mopping and cleaning and changing all the beds and bedding.

We finished off our day in the giant rabbit hutch, shared with ducks and even cockerels! We fed them and gave them all some attention, which was my son’s favourite part. We also swept up the stray hay and bedding and gave a general clean around.

I was so impressed with Greenacres. The staff are excellent and you can tell they really love what they do! Milo and Chloe were just adorable and I hope they find their forever home soon!”

Karen’s Volunteers Week Experience:

“I arrived at the centre for a morning’s volunteering and was made very welcome by Sabrina and Elaine. I was given a tour of the site and was very impressed with their facilities! The kennels are light and airy, the dogs have access to a large secure field to have a run around in, and there’s also a house where they can get used to living in a home environment! Amazingly, Greyhound Rescue Wales also has an interactive room where the dog’s play and use enrichment toys such as snuffle mats!

When I arrived, it was time to take a few of them for a nice long walk on the local moorland, so they could get used to the different environment. I took Dilys, very gentle girl who already seemed quite confident and was a joy to walk.

After a quick drink of water, it was time to take Frankie out and about in the locality to get her used to traffic, and urban noises and people. She loved all the attention from the locals and was so nosey, it was a delight watching her taking in all the new experiences.

Back to base and it was time to feed a couple of the leaner dogs before they all got to have snooze and quiet time for an hour. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stay all day, but I loved my time there and will definitely be volunteering again! Not knowing this breed at Greyhounds Rescue Wales very well, I definitely had my eyes opened.

Some of these shelter dogs make wonderful, loyal companions and often fit in very well to the home environment. It was quite surprising that some of them hadn’t yet been adopted, but I have no doubt that with everything GRW does, it won’t be long before they find their forever homes.”

Remember, volunteering isn’t just for volunteer’s week! Reach out to your local shelter or chosen charity at any time for advice about volunteering.

For more information about Greenacres or Greyhound Rescue Wales, visit www.greenacresrescue.org.uk and www.www.greyhoundrescuewales.co.uk 

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