It’s fair to say that for organisations such as Dogs for Good, the support of volunteers is absolutely vital – we certainly know that we couldn’t achieve everything we do without the help of ours! In fact, we’d go so far as to say that they truly are the beating heart of our charity; helping to change lives for better.
The roles our brilliant volunteers undertake are varied – they care for the mums of pups, they raise our pups, fundraise for us, drive long distances for us, provide bed and breakfast to dogs in training and support our staff in the office.
They are a reliable body of dedicated and passionate people – in fact, for every member of staff, Dogs for Good has no less than thirteen volunteers providing vital services to make our work possible.
Our volunteers come from all walks of life; some single, some with families, some retired, some working full or part-time, some who are also our clients, some who have previously had a pet dog, some who have never had a dog – the list goes on. But what binds them all together is their shared belief in the power of the human-dog bond.
Here’s our brief guide to our volunteer roles at Dogs for Good…
Puppy socialisers look after our young pups from around eight weeks of age to approximately 15 months old. They teach our pups all the basics, such as walking on a lead, house-training and basic obedience. They also take the puppy to many different places and environments to ensure they are confident and relaxed as fully-trained assistance dogs. Bob and Mary Whyatt have been volunteering as Puppy Socialisers since 2014 and say:
“We view what we do as part of an incredible, life-changing process for someone with disabilities. We’ve been lucky enough to never lose touch with pups we’ve socialised and get regular updates from the individuals they’ve gone on to assist which makes us so proud.”
Our Temporary Boarders provide bed and board for our dogs in training; dropping off and picking up the dogs at the start and end of each day as well as caring for them at weekends. These volunteers ensure our dogs get plenty of time for relaxation and enjoy family life while they train to be assistance dogs. Darcy O’Gara and his two housemates, Stephen and Richard are Temporary Boarders and are currently on their sixth dog, Simm. “Loads of people say they’d love to have a dog but can’t because of having to work,” says Darcy. “Boarding is a perfect solution. It doesn’t feel like traditional ‘volunteering’ and it’s so rewarding. We have a succession of awesome dogs that come and stay in our home with us before going on to change someone’s life for the better. We love it!”
Breed Stock Holders
Our breed stock holders care for our brood bitches and stud dogs – the mums and dads of our puppies. They look after the dogs throughout their entire adult lives and also care for the mum throughout her pregnancy as well as for her and her pups in the very important first few weeks of their lives. “Caring for our special puppy mum is unquestionably the best and most fulfilling thing we’ve ever done as a family!” says Andrea Cullen, one of our volunteer Breed Stock Holders. “A few weeks after being assessed by the charity we welcomed beautiful Brenda into our home. Not only did we get a fantastic, well-behaved dog to care for, but we also had the amazing privilege of helping her look after her puppies and all this in the knowledge that one day, these amazing dogs will make such a difference and be positively life-changing to someone else.”
Our drivers provide an extra pair of hands at the wheel to help with deliveries and pick-ups – be that delivering a puppy to its new home, delivering fundraising leaflets, picking up important supplies or taking dogs from one place to another! Ray is a volunteer driver and has been helping Dogs for Good out for the last couple of years. “I live locally and have known about the charity for a while,” says Ray. “I took early retirement from being a British Gas engineer where driving was a big part of the job; therefore being a driver for Dogs for Good seemed like the perfect volunteering role for me. I get a great deal of satisfaction from being part of this wonderful charity – so much so that my wife and I also joined the local fundraising team!”
Our wonderful office volunteers help with all sorts of different duties in our offices. From fundraising support to greeting visitors on reception, we’re always very happy to see them! Office Volunteer, Denise, comments: “I recently retired from working in an office and decided that I still wanted to still use my skills and experience and not just sit and do nothing! Having previously been involved with Dogs for Good on both the puppy and fundraising sides, what better way than to volunteer to help in the fundraising office? My skills are put to good use, I am volunteering for a charity which is very close to my heart and I am very aware of the children and adults that Dogs for Good helps. Being in the fundraising office has made me appreciate the hard work that is put in by everyone, helping make Dogs for Good the amazing charity that it is.”
Our army of fundraising volunteers go out in all sorts of weather to help raise money and also awareness about the work that Dogs for Good undertakes. Each year, without fail, they raise thousands of pounds which go towards us being able to change more lives for the better. Sarah says: “Being partnered with a “Dog For Good” gave me back my independence and allowed me to feel part of the community again. Fundraising gives me the opportunity to spread the word about this innovative charity at the same time as having fun, and raising much needed funds to continue the life changing work that this charity provides.”
Every year, our speakers attend many events to raise awareness of Dogs for Good’s work. They provide thought-provoking talks to people aged from eight to 80 and ensure that many, many more people know how dogs can transform lives. Vickie Jenkins is a client of Dogs for Good and her assistance dog is the beautiful Tula. Vickie is also a volunteer Speaker with the charity and says “I became a client speaker with Dogs for Good for a couple of reasons; firstly to help raise awareness of this amazing charity and secondly, to give something back to thank them for changing my world with Tula.”