A volunteer at Dogs Trust Ballymena has reached 2,000 hours of devoted service to the charity’s Rehoming Centre.
Sandie Clyde, 38, has been a volunteer dog walker for six years, supporting hundreds of canine residents through socialisation and helping to enrich their lives while in the care of Dogs Trust.
Sandie had previously adopted a resident from Dogs Trust Ballymena, who sadly passed away; and found out about the volunteering opportunity through a family member.
Sandie wanted to give something back after years of having a devoted canine companion of her own.
She said: “It was a no brainer for me really because I love dogs and being a volunteer dog walker, I get to help lots of them as opposed to just one. I’m currently not able to adopt another dog due to my job but also came to the realisation that I didn’t want to live without dogs in my life; and since becoming a volunteer at Dogs Trust I have never looked back.
“The staff at Dogs Trust Ballymena are wonderful, incredibly friendly and made me feel at home from day one. They place a lot of trust in me and in return, I learn a lot from them.”
Throughout her time as a volunteer, Sandie has helped care for dogs at the Rehoming Centre, allowing staff to get a better understanding of each dog’s unique personality in order to match them with the right owners.
Sandie said: “When I’m out walking a dog, I will gauge how they react in different situations and then report this back to the rest of team, which gets fed into the dog’s profile.
“This can be anything from finding out how they cope when near traffic, how they react around new people or seeing livestock; or even whether they enjoy chasing a tennis ball.
“I have a soft spot for Spaniels, however, one of my favourite canine companions at the rehoming centre was a dog named Floyd. He was three-years-old and had little training or interaction with people or dogs; however, I got to be part of his journey, supporting him to flourish and eventually find his forever home.
“I get so much pleasure and satisfaction from volunteering; to me it is the perfect way to de-stress and forget everything else that is going on in life.”
Aimee, Volunteer Coordinator at Dogs Trust Ballymena, said: “We are so grateful to Sandie for everything she has done for us and the dogs at the Rehoming Centre.
“Our supporters are at the heart of everything we do, and we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the dedication of those giving their time, donations and care to the hundreds of dogs rehomed each year.”
“We are always updating our website with new volunteer vacancies, including positions for kennel cleaners, dog walkers, events and media. If you would like to join the team get in touch.”
Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer at Dogs Trust Ballymena, can get in touch with the team on 0300 303 0292 or visit www.dogstrust.org.uk/our-centres/ballymena for more information.