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Do you have the drive to volunteer?


We're looking for volunteer drivers in Bristol and Exeter to transport animals to re-homing centres so they can begin their search for a new forever home.

To mark Volunteers' Week, we're appealing for animal lovers who want to give something back to become a volunteer driver.

Volunteer driver Gordon Dunham © RSPCA

For Gordon Dunham, who has volunteered for us for the last six and a half years, a love of animals and driving as well as the excitement of the unknown is a prerequisite for the job. 

Gordon is based at our Ashley Heath Animal Centre in Ringwood, Hampshire, and is often seen in one of our RSPCA vans taking a furry friend or rogue reptile to their destination.

From picking up wildlife and creepy crawlies to taking pets owned by victims of domestic abuse to a new fosterer - he says one day is never the same.

Supporting the Pet Retreat scheme is just one way that Gordon helps us. Pet Retreat provides foster care for animals until they can be reunited with their owners in a safe and secure home. The scheme plays a vital role in helping victims leave dangerous situations knowing their pets are in safe hands.

A rewarding experience

Gordon has seen some very emotional goodbyes but also lots of happy endings when pets have finally been reunited back with their owners after they have escaped domestic abuse and started new lives.

He said:

It’s lovely when you take animals back home to their owner after they have been in Pet Retreat fostering. One of the first ones I did was taking a dog back to a lady in Portsmouth. When I pulled up in the van she was stood outside in the street waiting with banners and balloons outside her house.

Her face when she saw her little Jack Russell was a picture and when he saw her he went bananas. Her story was very upsetting, both her and her Jack Russell had been attacked by her partner so to see them reunited, happy and healthy, was very emotional. It makes you realise doing this is incredibly worthwhile.

Gordon, who was an HGV driver for 40 years before retiring, said he finds volunteering very rewarding and has been known to do three or four trips a week.

He continued:

I would really recommend this voluntary role to anyone who loves animals and wants to find a way to help. I love it. It’s really interesting to go to lots of different places and meet lots of different people and of course the animals - that’s my favourite part.

I’ve collected fox cubs which have arrived off a ferry from the Isle of Wight and taken them to West Hatch, I’ve taken runaway goats to a sanctuary in Maidstone, and I’ve collected tarantulas, snakes, farm animals, and just about everything in between.

All I’d say is you’ve got to like driving and animals and be prepared for anything!

Stevi Ballard, our operations support administrator, said:

Gordon is an excellent and dedicated volunteer who gives his time for free to make a difference to lots of animal’s lives. The RSPCA relies on volunteers like Gordon and we are incredibly grateful for his support. He is an absolute star!

Drivers needed 

Volunteer driver Gordon Dunham standing by an RSPCA van © RSPCA

More volunteer drivers are needed to cope with increasing demand especially around our centres in Bristol and Little Valley in Exeter

Drivers must be 21 years old and over, have a full, clean driving licence and be available for at least one day a week - Monday to Friday.

For more details, or to sign-up, contact Stevi at stevi-jade.ballard@rspca.org.uk or find more volunteering roles in your area.

Other ways to support us

Not only do we rely on our outstanding volunteers, we also rely on support from the public. Please donate what you can online or text LOVE to 87023 to give £3

(Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message. Text to donate terms and conditions).

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