Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Diary of a Volunteer - Summer - Part 2/3

Volunteers Helen and John have some new additions to the family and making a new friend at the centre over the summer months.

June

Yippee – after arriving back from our holiday in Vienna, we collected Snoop and Bryn in the early afternoon on the 9th. Now the fun was to start, settling two dogs into our routine whilst attempting to continue our volunteering at the centre.

I must admit, it has been a little more difficult trying to train two dogs at the same time, but the rewards are definitely twice the amount. When people who you see out and about congratulate you on how well they are doing it, really does give you a great sense of satisfaction.

During the working week our dogs are walked around the local park, approximately three miles round trip. John and I take it in turns, a week about depending on John’s shift. At the weekend we both try to walk together and it generally includes a trip to the beach. After a good run along the beach and home for breakfast, it’s a good time to allow the dogs to rest and we take a couple of hours for voluntary work.

Snoop is always very interested in having a good sniff of our clothes on our return but she never misses out on a big love and a few treats. Bryn doesn’t seem to be too interested in the smells, but is very pleased to have a treats and play with his toys.

The volunteer’s walks are an excellent opportunity to take the dogs off site for a few hours, find somewhere different to walk and have a chat with our fellow volunteers. The dogs are very good and seem to be more interested in the new smells than the other dogs. Of course we are always guided by the staff as to which dogs are suitable for off site walking.

July

On the 4th of July I headed over to block 4 and asked Jenny which dogs she would like me to walk. After walking Sam and Scrappy, she handed me Jacob, an eight year old cross that people walk past, me included, as he barks and jumps around. One of the members of staff, Jenny said that he would love a nice walk and he did. In fact, it was a little sad really as Jacob seemed distant and there wasn’t much interaction from him, he just had a mission of walking. ‘Well,’ I thought, ‘there is a challenge if I ever had one.’

All of my visits to the centre now include walking Jacob. Once out and walking he knows we go off site and he is very excited, showing me the way. We have our little rituals, but every walk is slightly different. He loves wading through puddles and ploughing through snow, and he definitely has a great personality. Jacob also loves other dogs; whenever he sees a dog out on a walk he will have a little cry as if to say ‘can I go and say hello?’, but is then always happy to continue his walk. Jacob proudly sits and says please for a treat. He also loves a fuss, in fact he is a real big softy and when you get to know him, he is a gentle giant. I would absolutely love Jacob to find a forever home, but I would miss him dearly.


August


We had a fantastic time helping out at the Summer Open Day. It was great to work with all the staff in a different way. We were helping out on the Doggie Run; John was walking around advertising the run and I was helping the two Jenny’s whilst they were timing the dogs as I was writing the dogs’ names and details of the owners. We were very busy all afternoon and it was great fun, yet quite competitive at times!

Keep your eyes peeled for the final installment of Helen's diary to see what happens in the final few months of their first year of volunteering.

Read part 1: http://bit.ly/DT_Vol1
Read part 3: http://bit.ly/DT_Vol3
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