Sunday, January 3, 2010

Volunteering with the branch

Maisie, one of our injured strays

Volunteering opportunities with our branch probably don't fit the ideal image most people have of "helping at the RSPCA". Most of the animals we have up for rehoming are boarded at a private kennels, so we can't allow volunteers to just drop in and help out with dog walking etc. because this would mean disruption to the kennel owners' work caring for the private boarders.

A typical rescue case for us generally manifests via a call to the branch emergency phone from a private vet who has just received an injured stray with a log number from the RSPCA National Control Centre. This log number guarantees that the RSPCA will pay for emergency first aid. The Control Centre (NCC) is staffed 24/7 and responds to emergency calls from members of the public (or vets who have received injured strays directly). Sometimes an inspector or animal welfare officer will be sent out to deal with the situation (e.g. if the injured animal is dangerous), but if the finder has transport and can handle the animal they are usually requested to take it direct to a vet so that treatment can begin as soon as possible.

The National RSPCA pays the first £60 + VAT to get first aid started and the vet will then contact their local branch to fund continuing treatment and (hopefully) to rehome the animal once he or she is fit again.

This inevitably means that our rescues start off scattered all over our branch area, and we need to move them to our clinic for further treatment; to foster homes for recuperation, or to kennels for rehoming. Inevitably everything is guaranteed to happen at the most inconvenient time possible.

This is why we don't have many opportunities for people to come in and help with caring for the animals, but we always desperately need more foster homes and volunteer drivers.

If you might be able to help with either of these, please email:

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