Two dog-loving volunteers from Shrewsbury are celebrating twenty years of being volunteer dog-walkers at Dogs Trust Shrewsbury – by walking dogs.
Jane Davies and Rosemary Salter both started walking dogs at the rehoming centre in 1999 when Tony Blair was Prime Minister, Britney Spears topped the charts and Pete Sampras fought off Andre Agassi to become Wimbledon champion.
Although the world of politics, pop and sport may have changed, for Jane and Rosemary when it comes to volunteering, things have stayed much the same – and they wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I can’t believe it’s twenty years, but I also can’t ever imagine not volunteering,” Jane said. “For many years I volunteered along with my husband, Glen. After he sadly passed away, I wanted to carry on. I absolutely love it and now I am retired I come most days during the week.”
Rosemary responded to an advert asking for volunteers to help out and started volunteering at weekends as a way to relax and escape the pressures of a full-time job as chief executive of a housing association in Wales.
“We have always had dogs of our own, and currently have a 14-year-old Jack Russell, Monty, who we adopted after I’d walked him for several years at the rehoming centre,” Rosemary said. “I see my role as helping dogs who are nervous or lacking in confidence to overcome their fears and boost their self-esteem. That includes walking them on site and when they’re ready off site too, encouraging them to play or have a great run in the compounds, and even getting them used to being in a car if that is something that they are wary of.”
Dogs Trust Shrewsbury currently has 74 volunteers helping the team make sure the dogs are happy and get lots of TLC whilst they wait for their forever homes, doing everything from cleaning kennels and doing the laundry to playing with them, giving them cuddles and taking them for long walks.
Between them Jane and Rosemary, the longest serving volunteers at Dogs Trust Shrewsbury, have donated around 1,400 days, almost four years of their lives, to helping the thousands of dogs that have been cared for at the rehoming centre since 1999.
“Both myself and Rosemary often walk the dogs that are finding it difficult to find new homes and you become very attached if they are around for a while,” said Jane. “Some of my fondest memories are of taking a Labrador Cross, Jack the Lad, for walks from being a puppy until he died aged twelve. It was sad that he could never find a home but along with the staff I made sure he had the best time possible and often took him on off site walks. He loved going to the beach! Now I am spending a lot of time with lovely Lilly who has been with us quite some time.”
“The best bit about volunteering is when after weeks or maybe even years of helping look after a dog, you watch them walk off to a happy future with their new family, knowing you have played a part in making it possible,” Rosemary said. “There’s nothing more rewarding.”
To find out more about volunteering, or the dogs waiting for their forever homes at Dogs Trust Shrewsbury, please visitwww.dogstrust.org.uk or call 0300 303 0292.