We interviewed Nynke, who has volunteered across a range of departments including our main reception, to find out more about her role and how it contributes to our vital work supporting dogs, cats and communities.
I first started volunteering for Mayhew back in 2007 as a foster carer for dogs and I also used to take some of the kennel dogs out on walks. I then re-joined Mayhew in January this year on the front desk reception. I’ve always wanted dogs to be a central part of my life and to combine my love of being around them with playing a small part in addressing animal welfare issues.
My role involves taking calls from members of the public on a whole range of animal welfare issues. Some are from distressed owners needing assistance with finding lost pets, others are reporting animal abuse. Some callers are desperately looking for temporary homes for their beloved dogs while they have to go into hospital. I think of it like Samaritans with a focus on animals.
There are happy moments too. One memorable time was when a man walked into reception to pick up his beloved staffie who’d been missing on the streets for four days and handed into Mayhew. Seeing the two of them reunite again set everyone off in tears. Adoptions are also wonderful moments to watch, as new pawrents walk out with their fur babies and huge smiles on their faces.
I love feeling like I’m making a small difference. Just listening, showing empathy and offering advice to people who are in a state of anxiety about their pets can be all they need to calm down. It means a lot to hear the gratitude in their voices knowing they’re being listened to and they’re not alone. The staff at Mayhew are also so lovely to work with, especially Nat, the volunteer coordinator. I feel very valued and wish I had time to do more!
The day I arrived for a shift and was asked ‘what shall we name our 3 new rescue kittens who’ve just arrived?’ and the suggestion was made by a colleague ‘let’s call them after some of our volunteers!’. But they then turned out to all be mal, so maybe next time I’ll get that honour.
I’m a professional dog walker based in Hackney so I’m lucky enough to have dogs in my life every day. I don’t yet have my own, but that’s just a matter of time!
A golden eagle.
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