Our volunteering day with the SSPCA
Volunteer days are a great way for us to spend a bit of time with organisations making a difference in our communities.
And, as part of our focus on animal charities this year, I went along recently to spend a day in the life of the staff and volunteers at the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) in Inverness, along with partner Kirk Tudhope and solicitor Natalie Coll.
This was an eye opening experience: we found out more about all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes. The centre provides refuge to animals in need from Inverness and the surrounding area, as well as some rescued from Scotland’s most remote places.
The morning consisted of helping clean out the enclosures for the cats and dogs.
This cleaning happens daily. Kirk helped clean the dog enclosures, Natalie helped with the feral or semi-feral cats, and I helped with the domesticated cats. This job wasn’t for the faint hearted as it involved cleaning out the cat litter trays!
In the afternoon, we had a walk around the centre to have a look at the different animals.
I was surprised to learn about the range of guests staying at the centre which included rabbits, cockerels, a pigeon, and even a seal pup.
One of the members of staff also told me how she had hand-reared a mouse which had been taken in, and now keeps it in her home as a pet. We learned that the sick wild animals staying there are nursed to health and then will be set free back into the wild, if it’s safe to do so.
Following our tour, we were set back to work as we helped take the dogs out for their daily exercise in the garden. The weather was pretty wet and bleak by this point but that didn’t seem to affect the dogs’ excitement.
The day seemed to go by in a flash and before we knew it, it was the end of our volunteer day.
What was really interesting was how relaxed we felt at the end of the day: interacting with the animals really did have a therapeutic effect.
We also discussed how friendly and helpful the SSPCA staff had been and how much we admired the hard work they do to make sure all the animals are well cared for and have a safe, warm and nurturing environment.
As a solicitor, a lot of my working day is spent behind a computer screen, so I really enjoyed being able to get out and about and meet the animals, as well as finding out more about the invaluable work of the SSPCA.
To be honest, the hardest part of the day was not taking one of the animals home!