To celebrate National Volunteers' Week (1-7 June) animal welfare charities are saying a huge thank you to their volunteers.
Dogs Trust Manchester is showing its appreciation for the time donated by its volunteers. From walking the dogs to cleaning the kennels, the helpers have donated their own time to making sure the homeless hounds have everything they need. Since the centre opened in October 2014, an estimated 500 days have been donated - even Christmas Day!
Mike Beswick from Ashton has been volunteering at the Denton-based Rehoming centre for exactly a year this month. Mike says, "At any one time there are around 80 dogs being looked after at Dogs Trust Manchester, all needing to be walked, fed, cuddled and their kennels cleaned. That is a mammoth task so whatever I can do to help, I am willing to do!
"I used to own Great Danes but I don’t have a dog now so coming here means I get my doggie-fix and I know that I along with all the other volunteers are really helping the dogs who have found themselves without a home."
Mike volunteers two afternoons a week, which has notched up more than 300 hours in the past year, and helps by giving the dogs off site walks, loading the ever-whirring washing machines and playing with their canine residents.
Katrina Groves, Dogs Trust Manchester’s Volunteer Co-ordinator, says, "Without our volunteers, and we have about 60 at the moment, we couldn’t give the dogs everything they need and deserve whilst they are here with us. One volunteer taking a dog for a walk frees up a member of staff to give another dog that bit more TLC that they might need, especially when they have first arrived, or a little bit of extra training or playtime.
"Our volunteers are a vital part of the team and we want to say a huge thank you to every single one of them for the invaluable contribution they make."
One of the dogs Mike has spent time with at the centre is seven-year-old Jack Russell, Woody. Mike has been teaching Woody new things such as how to sit on command in return for a tasty treat, to help him find a forever home.
Mike says, "If I can help the dogs find their ideal home, that’s my reward. It is an absolute privilege and pleasure and humbling to come to the centre and contribute to the dogs’ wellbeing and care. All the staff and volunteers are amazing and we all work towards the same thing – making sure the dogs are happy. If they are happy, we are happy!"
If you are interesting in volunteering, contact Dogs Trust on 0300 303 0292 or visit the website.