This volunteer blog was written by Reception Volunteer Caroline Basma. Caroline finished working a couple of years ago and subsequently began volunteering at Mayhew six months ago. She told us she was keen to volunteer with an organisation that she valued and could be directly involved with.
My career had been as a Senior Manager for a large property company so I was unsure what transferable skills I could bring to this very different sector. I am a huge dog lover and adore my 10-year-old West Highland Terrier Dysney, so when a friend mentioned Mayhew it seemed like a really good fit. I even live in the same borough, so the journey was straight forward by bus.
I found the volunteer section on the website and kept an eye on the positions that came up. As I did not have any experience or qualifications working with animals, I assumed this ruled me out of many options. When the reception role came up I thought this was a good fit for me as I was used to a front facing role – meeting and greeting the public by phone and in person, using a database and taking card payments.
A week or so after my interview, I came in again for a training morning with Reception Coordinator, Sue. Sue has been involved with Mayhew for nearly 20 years and is very patient, supportive and has a never-ending supply of tales about her time at Mayhew.
The most common situations I come across are:
On a Tuesday, interviews for adoption take place between 12pm and 3.30pm but people can arrive sooner to be sure that they are high on the list as we operate on a first come first served basis. I have seen people arrive as early as 9.30am for a puppy. I like to meet the excitable people I have spoken to on the phone and hope that they are successful with their interview. It can also be tense in the reception area and I have witnessed up to five people in a queue waiting to be interviewed for the same animal.
I absolutely love to see the animals go home and start their adventures with their new family. It is so joyful. The dogs are very excited and wagging their tails. The cats are more low-key in their crates! Some of the animals that have been here longer or have been so loved have a fanfare of staff coming to wave them off.
It is also a privilege to greet the staff and volunteers as they arrive. As a volunteer I only have to come in for four hours a week and I am amazed and impressed by their energy and spirit. Many have been with Mayhew for many, many years and they are still so committed and enthusiastic.
I hope this gives you an idea of my role. As I hope you can tell I am loving my time at Mayhew. Long may it continue!
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