Our first ever guest blog is from Margaret, one of our dedicated kennels volunteers. Margaret has taken a little bit of time out to give everyone an overview of a typical day helping out in the Liverpool kennels! Please note… there’s lots of cleaning involved!
Margaret – A Day in the Life
I am a volunteer at the Kennels at Freshfields Animal Rescue. My day usually starts around 9 am; first thing is grab a radio then a quick check on the board to see if there are any kennel changes, new residents or any re-homers. A chat with Collette or Dawn, the Kennel Managers, to see if there's anything I need to know then it’s off to start the day’s tasks.
I usually start with cleaning Ruby's room, one of the long term residents, while she's out on one of her walks. The rooms and kennels are given a thorough clean; bedding shaken or changed, floors and baskets washed, clean water, food if not already given, and a little treat left in the bed!
I love seeing the kennels clean, warm and dry ready for the dogs’ return from walks. Next could be Freya's room, Nell's or Mickey's followed by washing up to 40 bowls! This takes time but I chat away to Bluebell who resides in the kitchen, where she insists she's helping by attempting to lick them! There is always a daily heap of soiled bedding to go in the washing machine and to be hung out then put away.
The bedding, washing the bowls and filling the Kong’s with food for the more stressed-out dogs, is a very worthwhile activity for the volunteers to do. It can be time consuming for Kennel staff, who always have more serious jobs in hand, so we know how valuable it is to take care of these tasks.
Cleaning the yards and the field are often on the agenda, and I always have a little four-legged companion to keep me company.
Time for a bit of lunch and a chat with the staff, then the afternoon is generally spent walking some of the dogs. I am normally out for 45 mins to 1 hour each. This is the time where you can build a bond with a dog by taking them out on a regular basis. The joy of them recognizing you, and wagging their tail furiously is part of what makes volunteering so rewarding. Walking newcomers and getting to know them, or just taking an anxious dog out from the Kennel environment and seeing them gain confidence is wonderful. Freshfields is situated in a beautiful semi-rural area, and walks especially to Lunt Nature Reserve are very picturesque and the dogs love all the countryside smells.
When it’s time for home at around 4pm, I leave knowing that my few hours at Freshfields have in some small way contributed to assisting the dedicated, hardworking staff here, who offer the resident dogs the very best they can. We all have a part to play in helping the dogs adjust to Kennel life, to rest and recuperate, and then eventually we see them going off to their new homes. It’s a great feeling to know that you are part of the process.