LAST week, Australia celebrated National Volunteer Week, the perfect opportunity for everyone at Sydney Dogs and Cats Home to reflect on the incredible work we see people do every day.
Our community of volunteers are the threads that bind the rich tapestries of our country and for anyone who got to witness the army of volunteers at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, you get a sense of how we feel about our own dedicated troupe.
Much like the Sydney Olympic Games, Sydney Dogs and Cats Home simply wouldn’t function without the devoted group of people we feel privileged to have.
Operations manager, Sofi Sey, said the importance of volunteers to the four-legged visitors of the shelter, is beyond measurable.
“There is no way we would be able to keep our doors open without the daily help of our volunteers,” she said.
Sofi added that it’s also rewarding to watch people experience the joy of helping animals in-need.
“I have seen confidence grow both personally and in their handling of animals — they come out of their shell,” she said.
Coming to the decision to freely volunteer for a cause has many different incarnations and Sofi said finding the story about how they’ve arrived to help care for Sydney’s lost and abandoned pets is always remarkable.
“People come to us as pairs to do something in common together,” said Sofi.
“Or they can’t have their own pets, are expats or international students who are greatly missing their pets.”
Volunteering is also an opportunity to connect with like-minded people or to help through their own grieving process.
“Some volunteers have lost a loving pet and find it cathartic and healing coming to help our pets,” Sofi said.
Long-time volunteer of almost a decade, Dorothy, said she wanted to keep herself occupied while also giving back to the community and Sydney Dogs and Cats Home was the right fit.
“It’s very rewarding,” she said while cuddling a Fox Terrier on her lap. “The animals are always so happy to see you. Everyone’s got the same interests at heart; we want the best for these guys.”
Dorothy started by volunteering in the cattery because she had cats of her own, and graduated to dogs soon after.
With a background in administration for university research centres, Dorothy said she had more to offer and has been a crucial cog in the running of the office ever since — and all done for the love of animals.
Sofi said besides our band of volunteers within pet care, Dorothy is only one of so many essential volunteers who help in the various areas of the shelter.
“There’s Peter our handyman, the two Johns — our photographer and backup and assistant, Margaret our all-rounder and Michael, Koula, Rob, Pat — our extraordinary big dog walkers, just to name a few,” Sofi said.
“But there are so many special volunteers it is impossible for me to give you special mentions. Perhaps at a push I could give you our top 50,” she laughed.
From all of the Sydney Dogs and Cats Home team, we thank each and every one of our volunteers. The happy tails of our furry and feathered residents speak volumes of your dedication.