On Friday 13th April Rachel Layton, Ross Attwood and Caitlin Harvey from Give as you Live HQ went to Cheltenham Animal Shelter to do a day’s volunteering.
Who is Cheltenham Animal Shelter?
Cheltenham Animal Shelter is a charity that has been helping animals since 1926. They rescue and re-home unwanted and abandoned stray cats, dogs and small animals from across Gloucestershire. The charity relies on the support of members of the public to help them look after approximately 1000 dogs, cats and small animals which pass through their doors each year. At present Cheltenham Animal Shelter is not eligible for National Lottery or Government funding. Instead, they rely on the generosity of supporters to meet the £500,000 annual running costs.
What did the volunteering day involve?
When Rachel, Ross and Caitlin arrived at the shelter they were given a tour by the senior team leader, Nicky. They were then each assigned to a kennel staff member to help clean the dog kennels (this got a little smelly!). The kennels had to be disinfected, scrubbed and rinsed down one by one. Once this job had been done Rachel and Caitlin washed and dried around 150 dog dishes whilst Ross filled puzzle feeders used to challenge the dogs mentally to earn their dinner! The group spent the afternoon walking a variety of dogs from a small Collie cross called Leah to a big Rottweiler called Lottie! Each with individual wants and needs the expert staff do all they can to make the animals stay as stress-free as possible.
The Shelter is trialling a new enrichment program to help those dogs who find shelter life more stressful than most. These lucky dogs are walked more and given puzzles and challenges to keep them occupied whilst in their kennels. This new program is producing superb results however the approach is extremely labour intensive and also requires an increased investment. These feeders cost between £5 and £20+, in order to roll out this extremely beneficial program to the whole site Cheltenham Animal Shelter will need your help!