A day in the life of a ... volunteer welfare assistant
My morning starts after I’ve had my cuppa and the dogs are fed; who knows what todays calls will bring?
Mondays are often busy as only emergency vets are available out of hours ie over the weekend. These calls normally involve a general chat about an owner’s animal with the recommendation they make an appointment as soon as possible.
My next call might involve wildlife queries. I often refer to Ask Annie on our website for answers and refer to the RSPCA’s national cruelty line when needed (0300 1234 999).
Chances are one of the local vets will give me a ring either concerning an animal they have seen or an owner they have spoken to about their pet. Usually there is concern that due to financial constraints the animal will not receive the recommended treatment it needs. Such cases may result in us agreeing to cover neutering or for a blood test to enable the owner to make an informed decision for their pet’s welfare.
Many calls from the public require me having a conversation with their vet before I can formally agree any financial assistance. So over the years I have developed good working relationships with the vets in our branch area.
All too regularly now I’m taking calls about unwanted pets, for many owners it is due to changes in their living arrangements. In most cases these animals have to go on a waiting list for a rehoming centre as everywhere is bursting with animals looking for new homes. However, in urgent cases or if the animal is stray they come into our branch care; we don’t have an animal centre so it means the animal goes to a private boarding establishment or a foster home. This may involve collecting the animal from either the owner or the vet.
Some calls are from distressed owners whose pet has been involved in an accident or suddenly been taken ill. These require empathy as sometimes it may mean helping someone make the very hard decision to have their beloved animal put to sleep if it’s suffering and it’s what the vet recommends.
Occasionally I receive calls from the local council, police or other charities, the majority of which need redirecting to our national cruelty line but I’m sometimes able provide useful information in the interim.
I also receive calls about lost/found pets. For dogs I refer people to the dog warden as they might have picked it up. I also get calls about missing cats. Sadly few cats seem to be microchipped, which means the chances of them being reunited with their owner is very low. If people send us a photo we post it on our Facebook page, which has proved successful sometimes – I love a happy ending.
If you ever need to contact us you can call us on 07906 924002 or email us.
If you need to report a mistreated, neglected, injured or distressed animal please call 0300 1234 999 or report it via My RSPCA.