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Home  >  Events  >  National Volunteer Week

National Volunteer Week is a chance for us to celebrate the people who dedicate their time to caring for animals by volunteering at RSPCA Victoria. Our 2,000 plus volunteer community is crucial to helping us achieve our vision of ending cruelty to all animals.

They are committed and passionate individuals they wish to make a difference to the lives of animals and we simply could not do our great work without them. This week we want to share inspiring stories from our network of volunteers across Victoria. On behalf of the animals at RSPCA Victoria – woof, meow, neigh, thank you!

Here are just some of their stories to shed some light on the amazing work they do, and the variety of ways volunteers help us and how it has changed their lives...

Paromita from RSPCA Op Shop Cranbourne

How has volunteering at your local RSPCA Victoria Op Shop changed your life?

Volunteering with RSPCA Victoria has allowed me to meet so many lovely people and it has given me more confidence in myself!

I love helping people search for treasures and giving my opinion on outfits (when I am asked!). We have our regulars coming in as well and it is so nice to see their faces.

How are you managing while we are not operating?

I am missing being at the op shops whilst we are in lock down! I have been keeping myself busy with knitting, embroidery and cooking. I also get to see my granddaughter every now and then which is so special. She doesn’t need a babysitter - just some company when her parents are working.

Tell us about something amazing you have seen in your op shop?

My story is about one of our regulars who I call ‘Sparkly’. She is so creative and will often purchase a handbag and turn it into a necklace or purchase a jumper and pull it apart to use in another creative way! I love seeing what she makes out of
the items she finds.

Marettee from RSPCA Wangaratta 

Why did you decide to volunteer with RSPCA Victoria?

I moved to north-east Victoria from Melbourne three years ago and really wanted to continue working with animals in shelters. I was also doing a course and wanted to help animals and get more experience working with different breeds of dogs.

Because I had volunteered with another charity and had lots of animal experience, I have also been active in helping our new volunteers learn the ropes!

What is special about volunteering in Wangaratta?

Wangaratta is an intimate, smaller shelter and you end up doing lots of different things. I love multi-tasking so it suits me perfectly!

There is more scope to learn in a smaller environment. I just love that my day can consist of walking dogs, doing laundry, cleaning cages and chatting to everyone! I love the variety and love giving the animals love and cuddles!

I have been here for three years - rain, hail or shine, I love coming in!

Favorite moment of volunteering with RSPCA Victoria?

I remember a particular dog who was with us for 44 days. He really became much calmer and more relaxed in our care. When the new owner came in with her current animal (she was looking for a puppy but decided to go with the older dog) it was love at first sight for both the owner and the existing dog! It was great for me to be a part of this family adopting a new pet and was so lovely to see this dog find his new forever home.

Marilynne from RSPCA Burwood East

How did you come about volunteering in the adoptions department with RSPCA Victoria?

I had been volunteering in the cattery for a couple of years and saw a need in adoptions. I asked if I could help out and luckily for me I could! I see lots of lovely animals come and go and I just love volunteering with the team in my area!                                                   

Can you share a memorable adoption story that warmed your heart?

There's been a handful that have given me an overwhelming sense of "rightness’. I recall a lovely white pussy cat who stayed here over a few months and when I saw he had been adopted out I felt so happy! Sometimes it takes a while for the right family to find the right animal, but it’s always worth the wait to make sure it’s perfect.

How do you manage not taking every animal home with you!?

Who says I don't?! ??I currently have three animals living with me and think I have room for another one! Luckily for the animals, they don’t hang around long. If you wait, you miss out!

Marguerita from RSPCA Warrnambool

What does volunteering with RSPCA Victoria mean to you?

My name is Marguerita and I have been volunteering at RSPCA Vic Warrnambool for six years. Animals that come into the care of RSPCA are, through no fault of their own, in an unfortunate circumstance: unwanted and unloved and perceived as having no value. Volunteering at RSPCA Vic means I can help give a creature that has come into our care a chance for a new, loving home: a place where they will be a valued and cherished member of a household.

What does a day volunteering at our Warrnambool site look like?

A day volunteering at RSPCA Warrnambool shelter is a busy undertaking. Our volunteers need to be across each area of the shelter; cats, dogs and small animals. All animals in Adoption and Quarantine areas must be checked, have their pens cleaned and be fed. I particularly enjoy working in the kennels but am happy to go wherever needed. Washing all used trays, bowls and bedding, mopping floors and disinfecting all surfaces are also morning tasks. Walking the adoption dogs and spending time in the pens with the quarantine dogs are important for enrichment and training. Our staff pitch in and work with us and are then busy working in the office, completing administrative tasks for the animals and interacting with the public to find homes for our little lost souls. The work of volunteers in the cat and dog areas is an important support system in a regional shelter.

Cat or dog person?!

Dog person! I have two dogs I adopted from the Warrnambool shelter; a short-haired Border Collie named  “Lori”, who I loved as soon as I saw her in the shelter, and a Kelpie named “Mackie”, whom I adopted after fostering when his leg was amputated. Yes, the old "foster fail” strikes again!

Carolyn, RSPCA Victoria Foster Carer

How did you find out about fostering with the RSPCA Victoria?

A few years ago, I discovered ‘The Kitten Lady’ on social media and she inspired me to start fostering! I had always supported the RSPCA so joining their team seemed like the logical option for me. I read all the information on the RSPCA Vic website and went to an information session. I was impressed with the way the RSPCA supported their foster carers, with everything you need supplied and a good team of people around to ask for help. I gladly signed up.  Within three weeks I had a mumma guinea pig and her four tiny babies to look after! Since August 2018, I’ve looked after a steady stream of animals, mainly timid cats and cats with kittens. I’m up to foster animal number 48 and I’ve only foster failed (adopted) one!

How has fostering changed your life?

Fostering has certainly changed my life. After 35 years in retail pharmacy, it has been a welcome change of pace and focus and I feel as though I have accomplished something really special. I think caring for vulnerable animals is good for the soul and my heart is very full.

I have met so many lovely, like minded, compassionate and animal loving people at the RSPCA and I’ve learnt so much about caring for cats in particular. I’ve mastered many new skills to do with feeding, cleaning, medicating and raising tiny kittens and calming hissing, timid cats. I’ve even sewed reusable guinea pig cage liners and tunnels!

There’s nothing quite like the feeling when your timid foster cat - or litter of kittens - come and snuggle down on your lap when you watch TV.  And even though it’s always sad to see them go, I feel blessed that I was able to return a content and trusting cat who is impossible not to love.

Tell us about something you are really proud of?

I’m really proud to have fostered so many animals that have been adopted quickly after going back to the RSPCA. Something I’ve learnt is that the shelter environment is often not the best place for an animal to shine.  They are so different in the home environment, confidently running laps of the house and choosing the softest places to nap. That’s why every animal I return to the RSPCA for adoption goes back with a laminated poster showing them relaxing in my home and explaining some of their unique characteristics. The poster hangs on the adoption cages and I’m positive it helps potential adopters picture the animal in their own home.  Six of my last seven litters of kittens were adopted in pairs!  That’s surely some sort of record and I’m really proud to be a part of the awesome team at Pearcedale who make that happen.

I also write a letter for the new family, thanking them for adopting from the RSPCA, and telling them a few things about their new pet, like their favourite foods or toys.  I often receive email updates (anonymously via my foster-care coordinator) of my previous foster animals in their new homes which I’m very thankful for and it always warms my heart! 

I’m so proud of the contribution that I make simply by giving these animals a warm, soft and safe place to grow for a time.  Fostering saves lives, and I’m proud to be a part of that. 

Sahar from RSPCA Burwood East

COVID-19 has changed everyone’s life in some way, how has your volunteering with RSPCA Victoria been impacted?

It’s definitely been a change working from home, but I’m happy that I am still able to volunteer from home as most of my work in based online. The challenge has been communicating regularly with staff and volunteers whilst working from home. This has only highlighted the importance of communication and touching base with one another to ensure tasks are completed.

What have you missed the most whilst working from home?

I have missed the RSPCA community atmosphere, my usual routine of seeing the staff and other volunteers, seeing animals in the office and of course, animals in the shelter. 

What do your pets think about you working from home and being around more?

My pets definitely have enjoyed me working from home, especially my newest adoptee, Shorty, who has special needs. Unfortunately, Shorty has had a hard start to life as a street cat and with the help of RSPCA he received the urgent care that he needed. Due to a ruptured cornea, he has lost one eye. Despite his special needs, he has adjusted and living his best life enjoying lots of pats, belly rubs and sitting in laps. It’s been truly rewarding watching his progress and confidence grow day by day..

Jason, RSPCA Victoria Board Member

Why did you decide to join the RSPCA Victoria Board?

As a practicing senior veterinarian I am passionate about helping animals in need. I grew up in a household with lots of animals and a great love of pets; we always had adopted pets and helped rehome many throughout my childhood.

Former RSPCA President Dr. Hugh Wirth was my mentor and introduced me to the great work of RSPCA Victoria. The RSPCA is clearly a leader in the animal welfare sector and I love that I can be involved in the great work it does.

How has this experience changed your life?

I have been volunteering on the Board with RSPCA Victoria for 5 years now and feel so lucky to be fighting the good fight to improve the lives of animals. 

What does your pet/s mean to you and your family?

Everything! Our animals are our fur-babies, we have Harry our German short-haired pointer and Brain our cat both rescue pets. Brain rules the household and tolerates sharing her domain with Harry.

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