Birmingham Animal Centre
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Laura Halsall tails of volunteering

Tails of a purrfect weekend

"Weekends have always been a bone of contention for me.  Working full time has often led me to feel pulled in all directions when it comes to a Saturday morning.

Spurred on by a colleague that volunteers, last June I began volunteering at my local RSPCA centre (Frankley Green) on a weekend.  In short the impact of volunteering in an area I am passionate about has been nothing short of life transforming.  I spend my Saturdays now working with the staff to socialise the cats and kittens they look after in the centre along with a bucketful of cleaning thrown in for good measure. 

For me it is the purrfect time to wind down, spending time with the cats focuses my mind and helps me forget about the stresses of the week.  Whether it be playing with an energetic kitten or providing a lap for an elderly cat.  The time I spend on a Saturday often fills me with a sense of joy and relaxation that nourishes my soul.  On a Saturday morning I often go in tired, feeling stressed about the ever growing to do list that whirls around my mind and a few hours later I emerge often covered in cat hair but with a far more positive outlook on life and a sense of wellbeing that I have struggled to replicate elsewhere.  There is a mystery for me in giving something away and yet receiving something you didn’t expect tenfold back.

My experiences of volunteering have also impacted on my colleagues who helped me create 100 Christmas stockings filled with treats and toys for the  cats staying at the centre over Christmas.   For my colleagues and I, the sense of doing some good in what can seem a dark and depressing world helped us no end through the winter months. 

Of course volunteering with animals isn’t for everyone but for anyone reading this who is looking for a way to wind down and find a sense of purpose in a chaotic world.  I would highly recommend finding a volunteering opportunity you are passionate about.

For now I shall leave you with a quote that sums up my time spent volunteering : ‘How it is that animals understand things I do not know, but it is certain that they do understand. Perhaps there is a language which is not made of words and everything in the world understands it. Perhaps there is a soul hidden in everything and it can always speak, without even making a sound, to another soul.’  Frances Hodgson Burnett 

For anyone spending their weekend spring cleaning in the next few weeks, the Frankley Green centre always welcome donations of clean blankets, towels and cat/dog toys.  See their website for more information on donations https://www.rspca.org.uk/local/birmingham-animal-centre/help2

 

 

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