Ever wondered what the lifeblood of RSPCA South Australia is? It’s our volunteers, of course!
Without the help of more than 1,500 wonderful faces working so diligently behind the scenes, we simply wouldn’t be able to provide thousands of vulnerable animals with the care they so desperately need each year.
With National Volunteer Week now upon us, we reckon its time to shower our volunteers with some much-deserved love and public appreciation for the amazing work they do. Ladies and gentlemen, behold our volunteer hero class of 2018!
1. Meet Sandy, our cat care centre legend!
Putting in two hard days work a week cleaning, washing and lovin’ on the adorable cats in our care, Sandy contributes more than just manual work. Sandy is known around RSPCA Lonsdale for her cat whispering skills and constantly doting on any lonely, and not-so-lonely cats.
“The most rewarding part is when I get a smooch from a shy cat or kitten and know I have helped improve their life,” Sandy tells us.
Can we get a collective aaaaww? Sandy’s warm, cat-loving heart has helped rehabilitate and strengthen the resolve of some our most vulnerable cats – something that never goes unnoticed.
Thank you Sandy for all of the wonderful work you have managed to achieve in the past two and a half years, you are puuurfection!
2. Meet Fran, the dedicated dog lover!
Eighty-year-old Fran is the epitome of an RSPCA hero. With three years of service under her belt, Fran has done it all. Initially working with the animals and helping prospective parents adopt their fur-babies, Fran is now retiring – somewhat – to a life of crocheting warm winter blankets for our animals and selling raffle tickets.
Having helped raise thousands of dollars through raffles, Fran has also helped crochet 30 blankets to keep our critters warm during the long winters – pretty impressive, huh?
“I came to the RSPCA because I had just moved from Port Augusta and left all of my friends behind, volunteering is a great way to meet new people,” Fran told us. She encourages anyone considering volunteer work to give us a call, saying: “The RSPCA needs it and so do the animals.”
Thank you to our wonderful Fran and her dedication to improving the lives of our beloved furry friends.
3. Meet Cosi, our fun-loving, all-round good guy!
With over four and a half years of volunteer work under his toolbelt, Cosi is a huge help with the maintenance of RSPCA Lonsdale and the making of dog enrichment toys. If it can be painted or hammered, Cosi is our man! (He may even be known as Santa around some parts…)
Bubbly, friendly and a little cheeky, Cosi not only brightens the place up with a fresh lick of paint, but with his lively personality. “The best part of the job is seeing the animals leave us for better homes,” Cosi says.
Cosi spends two days every week helping build Kongs or enrichment toys to keep our rescue pups stimulated and happy – a skill in serious demand. These enrichment toys help keep our dogs entertained motivated, encouraged and content.
Three cheers and a slap on the back for Cosi, an integral member of our volunteer team and a much-loved one at that!
4. Meet Sue, our animal-lovin’, dog adoption team leader!
Big-hearted Sue is an animal lover through and through. Initially a country girl, Sue grew up doting on animals and found a way to do that in the city – by volunteering! As team leader for our dog adoption branch, Sue helps out with just about everything, ensuring all doggos at RSPCA Lonsdale feel the love.
“The most rewarding part of the job is seeing the animals begin to feel more relaxed and like they’re cared about,” Sue explains.
After one-and-a-half years of showing these animals the love, affection and care they deserve, Sue is our animals’ go-to girl for a kiss n’ a cuddle. “I chose to volunteer because animals are so honest, beautiful and treat you right – I just love them.”
What a legend, right? A round of applause for our wonderful Sue and all of the brilliant work she does.
5. Meet Bianca, our pocket pet parent!
Ever wondered who loves and cares for the rabbits, birds, rats and guinea pigs of RSPCA South Australia? Bianca is your gal. She helps clean out cages, patiently chops food, helps with laundry and even grooms some of our more high maintenance creatures.
Aside from her tremendous workload at RSPCA Lonsdale, Bianca also doubles as a foster parent to some of our beloved rabbits and kittens, some of whom she has even adopted into her huge pet-friendly home. Aside from three adopted rabbits, Bianca and her husband also have four horses, a cat, a snake, a turtle and a few birds – phew, quite the household!
“The best part of the job is handling the scared or unsure rabbits and seeing the progress they make towards becoming confident with people,” she says.
Bianca’s words of wisdom to future volunteers? “Do it! Just don’t bring your wallet with you – you’ll want to adopt all of the animals!”
6. Meet Stephen, our dedicated dog adoption legend!
One of our longest serving volunteers with nine years of service, Stephen epitomises a true hero. Having dabbled in op shop volunteering on top of his dog adoption responsibilities, Stephen now spends much of his time making the long drives to Roseworthy and Port Pirie picking up cats and kittens and delivering felines to Petbarn stores for adoption.
After the loss of his beloved RSPCA dog Blossom, Stephen decided to foster dogs, too, offering them the TLC they need and deserve.
“The best part of the job is the interaction with the dogs, especially when you come back a week later and they recognise and greet you like a long lost friend,” he says. “I am forever amazed that no matter how the dogs have been treated, they still have faith in humans.”
We can’t thank Stephen enough for his endless stream of love for the vulnerable animals we care for – you’re a true star, Stephen.
7. Raechelle, our 20-year-old op shop devotee!
At just 20 years of age, generous Raechelle dedicates her spare time to helping our Brighton Op Shop run seamlessly, pun intended. A hugely reliable volunteer, shop manager Sophia describes Raechelle as “selfless and generous with the people around her”.
Raechelle began volunteering as a means to meet new people after moving into the city, and has been diligently brightening life for her op shop colleagues and customers ever since. A hard worker, quiet in her approach and gentle in nature, Raechelle is doing us, herself and her workmates at the Brighton Op Shop proud.
Thank you Raechelle, you wonderful human you!
8. Meet Geoff, our Stepney admin guru!
Our longest serving volunteer at RSPCA’s Stepney headquarters, lovable Geoff is a man on a mission. Helping out with data entry and admin jobs, Geoff’s lively energy brightens up the office with his wicked sense of humour and obvious kindness.
Geoff also fosters stray cats, giving them a loving home away from RSPCA Lonsdale while they await adoption. One foster cat, Nelson, struck Geoff so much that he decided he couldn’t let him go and soon adopted the lucky feline.
When asked what his favourite part of the job is Geoff said that “cuddling the stray kittens is the best distraction at work”.
Cheers to you, Geoff, for the great work you have done and continue to do.
What a beautiful bunch of volunteers, hey? These kind-hearted folk give our animals a far greater chance at finding the happy new forever homes they deserve.
Are you an animal lover with a little spare time and a lot of love to give? Make a difference and apply to volunteer at one of our shelters, offices or op shops. Who knows, you might help save an animal who ends up saving you, too.