Providing extra support at a SPA/refuge is one of Les Amis des Animaux’ aims. We create the connection with the refuge and build a sense of community through the teams to make volunteering feel more supported. Being a member of a team brings camaraderie and allows for the flexibility we all need in our lives, without feeling like we have let anyone – or worse still, the animals – down.
You can be enthusiastic about dogs, cats or both – and actual experience of owning dogs and/or cats is essential. We try to be as ‘hands on’ as possible with the animals themselves. There may be occasions when it is necessary to stand in and help with the cleaning, but generally speaking we shall have arranged our services to the refuge around walking / grooming / playing / socialising the animals.
You will work as a minimum in pairs and always in conjunction with the staff on site and the team leader in order to ensure animals are dealt with fairly, according to need, and above all, to ensure your own safety. The conditions, including the infrastructure, at the refuges are not of the best and therefore ensuring animal safety can be difficult, especially when taking a few dogs from a large group out for a walk. It is easier to manage eager and enthusiastic dogs when we work as a team!
Each team has a supply of leads and basic grooming equipment. In addition we are always on the alert for sick animals, or animals that would particularly benefit from fostering. We may also have a special project – e.g. sterilisation – in process. Your team leader will provide this information.
Safety and security
All volunteers are covered by the Association’s Personal Liability Insurance. Nevertheless it is up to you to take care of yourself and not to over-stretch yourself. Many of the dogs we encounter are untrained and incredibly strong. There is no point being a hero. We want you to be able to return on a regular basis and hurting yourself could well preclude this! It is important to articulate your needs and capabilities.