At The Mayhew we are very proud to have a team of five experienced Animal Welfare Officers (AWOs).
Our AWOs are all dedicated and passionate about the welfare of animals and work tirelessly around-the-clock helping animals and their carers and saving lives. From reuniting a lost cat with her owners after being stuck 45 metres underground, to helping a local homeless man whose dog had been run over, the life of a Mayhew AWO is a busy and important role.
Their work is one of the vital aspects to the running of The Mayhew. Our AWOs reach out to the local community, providing support and advice for both animal and carer, and are proactive and innovative, working to help animals and their carers whatever their circumstances, to help prevent more animals from ending up in shelters such as ours. They give ongoing support so that owners can cope through difficult situations and do everything possible to keep a pet with their owners. Very often, with our Pet Refuge scheme, they offer the only option to people and their pets in a crisis.
Find out more about their dedicated work below…
Zoe is the Animal Welfare Manager for The Mayhew, and her role is to lead our amazing AWO team and our community outreach projects. She joined the team nine years ago after she felt she needed to get to the root cause of animal welfare issues.
“After years of working with rescued animals, my direction on how I wanted to help animals changed and I needed to get to the root cause of animal welfare issues – and working for The Mayhew as an AWO achieved my ambition. I’m now in the best role I could ever have dreamed of; I’m able to share my knowledge and experience, to train and guide The Mayhew’s AWO’s to make a difference to animals and their welfare.
Being an AWO is a very challenging role both mentally and physically, and although the experience of working with animals is vital, it’s also just as important to be able to communicate with people from all walks of life throughout this role. You need to be able to keep a calm, non-judgmental attitude in sometimes stressful situations.
Though part of our job includes responding to animal welfare emergencies, not all welfare cases will be a deliberate harm to animals. In this job you deal with a lot of situations where the owner is going through a hard time and just needs some support and advice to help them with their animal.
We are often referred to as “Animal Social Workers” because we are able to help and support vulnerable people in need with their animals – and ultimately keep the owner and animal together. This aspect makes The Mayhew’s AWOs unique, and is one reason why I am so passionate about my job.
I have been privileged to help many people and animals during my time at The Mayhew, and I have so many memories, including a mixture of happy, sad, rewarding and frustrating outcomes.
My most memorable case whilst working here was when I helped a local homeless man, Wully, and his two lovely dogs, Gallis and Bo. When I first met Wully he was sadly living on the streets and was completely addicted to drinking alcohol. He had been drinking since he was 11 years old and would drink four bottles of super strength cider a day, and is convinced that he would not have survived much longer had we not persuaded him to put his dogs into our Pet Refuge programme and go to rehab.
Now after receiving our help, Wully has been clean for over three years, works as a health care advocate for the homeless and lives in West London with his beloved dogs. This case just shows how important our projects are for vulnerable people and without them this could have ended very differently for Wully.” – Zoe
Read about Wully’s story here.
Animal Welfare Officer Paul has worked for The Mayhew for just over four and a half years, after working with animals in a variety of different roles for 16 years.
“I decided to become an Animal Welfare Officer at The Mayhew because I wanted to continue working with animals and also help vulnerable people at the same time. We often help people who are elderly, in poor health or on a very low income and are thus struggling to care for their pets due to certain circumstances. We can assist these people through a number of ways, including giving them advice, information and education, and through our free neutering programmes which we run at The Mayhew.
I’ve worked on a number of memorable cases during my time at The Mayhew, but one that sticks in my mind was a hoarding house job that my colleague Georgina and I worked on together. This house was owned by an elderly lady who had a number of un-neutered cats in her house….36 to be precise. Due to such a vast number of cats, the lady was unable to socialise all of them and so many of the cats were feral. A feral cat is a wild cat which is not used to human contact. Their behaviour is more like that of a fox; you cannot pick them up for cuddles and they usually run off when you approach them.
Sadly, the lady did not know who to turn to for help. A caring neighbour alerted us to the problem, and after going to speak with the lady, we began the long process of trapping all the cats and kittens. This took us the best part of two months and we still go back regularly to check on her now. We were able to keep a lot of the young kittens for rehoming, but sadly some of the cats and kittens were so sick and injured they had to be put to sleep to stop their suffering.
We left the lady with eight adult cats, all neutered and healthy. This was a much more manageable number for her to cope with, and now the majority of cats have been removed, their living environment is much cleaner, for both the cats and the owner!” – Paul
Read more about this story and how some of the cats from the hoarding house found happiness in new homes, here.
Tania is one of our amazing Animal Welfare Officers at The Mayhew, and has now been working here for just over a year and a half.
“I started out my career working in boarding kennels, and after spending a couple of years there, I moved over to the rescue sector, where I worked for almost nine years. I had followed The Mayhew and their work long before I started here, and I always wanted to get involved with the AWO’s great projects.
I have gained loads of great, and sadly pretty bad, memories during my time working for The Mayhew, but one in particular that always stands out in my mind, was when we reunited lost kitten, Sass, with her owners.
This kitten became stuck 45 metres underground in an electricity pipe for about a day and came into us after she was found by maintenance men working on the pipe. Sass was extremely lucky that the men managed to find her and that the pipe was not live with electricity.
Thankfully after putting out appeals for Sass’s owners, she was reunited with her worried owners within two days and is now safe and adventuring a bit closer to home.” – Tania
Read about Sass’s story here.
Georgina joined our brilliant team a year ago and has been working in an animal welfare role for seven years after finishing University.
“I have always known that I wanted to work with animals, so studied a BSC in Veterinary Sciences, and then a Postgraduate Diploma in Animal Welfare and Biology. During my studies I developed a greater interest in working in the rescue, rehabilitation and welfare side of animal care.
I was particularly interested in working for The Mayhew because of the Animal Welfare Officers’ fantastic work and the effective out-reach programmes which they run. It’s so fulfilling to see an animal that you have helped, blossom in your care and go on to find a loving home.
The most memorable case I’ve worked on was the recent arrival of our “Fruit Kittens”, Cherry, Raspberry, Blackcurrant and Apricot. These three four-week-old kittens and one six-month-old kitten were brought into us by a concerned member of public, who had found them in a box at the end of his road. At the time when they came in we were bursting at the seams with animals, but as soon as I saw them, I knew they needed urgent help.
The three younger kittens were emaciated, severely dehydrated and covered in maggot infested wounds. Thankfully the older kitten, Apricot, seemed to be in an okay condition. The younger kittens were seen to immediately; our Vet Team gave them fluids, washed their wounds and provided them with antibiotics. To see them dive on their food when it was first offered to them, was particularly heart-wrenching.
Thankfully all four kittens have recovered and are doing really well. Apricot has since gone to her forever home and now the three younger kittens are older and have been neutered, they’ve just been reserved and will be off to their loving homes soon!” – Georgina
Read more about the fruit kittens story here.
AJ began her career at The Mayhew three years ago as a student, and since then has worked incredibly hard to gain multiple qualifications in animal care and welfare.
“During my three years at The Mayhew, I have gained the relevant qualifications needed for my dream job. I have completed my Level 2 Diploma in work-based Animal Care, an apprenticeship in which I gained my Level 3 Diploma in work-based Animal Care and Welfare, my microchipping certificate and also have received extensive training for The Animal Welfare Act, 2006.
I first became interested in becoming an Animal Welfare Officer during a volunteer placement at a Thai Animal Welfare and Rescue Centre. This experience inspired me so much, that when I returned to the UK, I decided to change my career and devote my life to animal welfare.
I love being an Animal Welfare Officer because every day is different, and every day we make a difference.
Education is a huge part of our job and I really enjoy seeing the difference we can make to an owner and their animals lives by being on hand in crisis situations. A lot of our cases come about due to a lack of education in caring for animals, so giving owners the tools and information they need to care for their animals is extremely rewarding.
One of the best parts of my job is being able to reunite lost dogs and cats with their owners. This is always an emotional experience, and is mainly only possible if owners have had their animals’ microchipped and tagged. I was once able to reunite a microchipped cat, who had been missing for three months! Hearing the joy and relief in the owners voice upon hearing their cat was safe at The Mayhew, was indescribable.” – AJ
Our Animal Welfare Officers truly do an amazing job at The Mayhew, so please consider supporting their work by making a donation if you can.
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