Helpful heroes in animal shelters

Janine Balmforth volunteers at Silverdale Animal Shelter

Last Updated : 20 Jan 2016
Volunteers SAS

Auckland couldn’t operate without the goodwill of thousands of people who volunteer to help with all sorts of community activities, from tree planting to dog walking, from taking tickets at events to fighting fires and beach safety.

OurAuckland talks to Janine Balmforth about volunteering at Silverdale Animal Shelter.

Q: What do you love most about volunteering?

For me, it's getting to spend that one-on-one time with the dogs, whether it be walking, grooming, playing or just comforting them. It's enjoyable working alongside people who share the same passion as I do.

I also find it incredibly rewarding seeing these dogs come in from a variety of different situations and being adopted by their new families. I have seen firsthand dogs that have come in terrified and, with the help and compassion of the staff, have been able to be temperament-tested and later re-homed.

Q: What made you choose Silverdale animal shelter? What makes it especially appealing?

At the time I felt that many people in New Zealand had prejudices about many of the breeds and what’s involved in the running of the shelter. I saw the enjoyment my own dogs received from the time we spent with them and felt I would like to volunteer my time working with dogs that for various reasons end up in the shelter.

I find it especially appealing and rewarding to be a part of a system where I can see the joy and unconditional love these animals can show us.

Q: What personal qualities do you need to have to volunteer at an animal shelter?

It's very important to have a strong commitment to both the animals and staff as they rely on you. You also need a willingness to learn and help with whatever tasks are required.

Q: What advice would you have for people thinking of getting involved?

I would advise they come in and take a look around. Have a chat to the staff or volunteers who would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

Q: How can people get involved in this area?

If you have experience with dogs, or are willing to learn, you can contact your local shelters or charitable organisations who will be able to give you advice. There are a number of various different ways in which people can help these dogs.

Depending on your circumstance you may be able to knit jumpers, donate blankets, toys or anything you think may benefit the dogs.

Silverdale Animal Shelter

Manukau Animal Shelter

Henderson Animal Shelter

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