Our volunteers support us with both our rescue dogs and our canine ‘guests’ in Ark Lodge, our commercial boarding kennels, which helps to fund the day to day running of the Animal Centre.
To reduce stress and to help our dogs cope in the shelter environment, they need daily time away from their kennels for exercise, play, mental stimulation and socialisation. Some dogs appreciate company in their kennels whilst others need regular grooming. We even have a reading club where our volunteers can sit in a kennel block and read to the dogs.
As our rescue dogs often have complex needs and behavioural issues they have training plans devised by our Behaviour and Welfare Specialists which staff and volunteers follow to help prepare them for adoption.
Each dog needs a minimum of 30 minutes out of their kennel and you should therefore aim to spend time with at least 4-5 dogs per shift. Additional volunteer tasks include helping to clean the kennels, washing up after feeding, making enrichment for the dogs to enjoy, keeping the play areas tidy and refreshing watering points around site.
You will be expected to volunteer in all weather conditions so be prepared to get cold and wet during the winter and hot (and probably wet), in the summer! Our dogs need looking after and walking regardless of the conditions outside. You will be responsible for dressing appropriately for this.
We have a traffic light system for our dogs relating to their handling level. However, as most of our dogs are amber/red level (meaning a higher level of complex behaviour needs or very strong on lead), we ideally need volunteers to have some knowledge of canine body language, behaviour and training through education, employment or dog ownership. Please be aware the role is physically demanding and some walking surfaces around the site are uneven and slope.
Volunteers should be comfortable yet empathetic when handling animals and be able to cope in a sometimes challenging and emotional environment. You should have the ability to follow instruction and complete documents accurately. As a volunteer you will be part of a team but you should also be confident and capable of working unsupervised and often alone. You should also have a keenness to learn and be prepared to attend ongoing training and development. Volunteers should also be willing to support fund raising events and activities
We are seeking volunteers who can make a minimum commitment of 6 months as we only have limited resource for training and support. If you are seeking full time employment or your circumstances are likely to change within this time frame we kindly ask you wait until you know your ongoing availability. You would join a volunteer rota and would need to commit to the same shift/s each week (not including holidays, absences etc.).
Morning shifts are from 9am-12pm (you may stay longer if your availability allows)
Afternoon shifts are from 2pm-5pm (please note the shelter closes at 5.30pm)
Please note submission of an application form is not guaranteed to result in the offer of a role as we only have limited opportunities. Progression will therefore be dependent upon our current vacancies, your availability and in some instances your experience. It may be possible to add your details to our waiting list but if we are unable to offer you an opportunity within six months your details will be removed and you will regrettably need to reapply.
If we are able to progress your application you will need to complete our online health and safety training courses and forms, prior to being invited onsite for a trial induction. You will then receive additional hands-on training sessions with our staff and experienced volunteers after which you will be able to work with the dogs independently.
To apply, please complete the volunteer application form below. Unfortunately we can only accept applications if you are 21 or over and mileage cannot be paid.