Volunteering for SFT – Hannah
I got my first dog Ralph back in November 2010 and he really opened my eyes to just how amazing animals are. He was the one being who was always excited to see me & forever stayed by my side. He started my passion for animals as a whole & so I started applying for animal-based jobs as I realised that my passion was animals. Unfortunately, due to no experience, I got nowhere, so then I decided if nobody would pay me to do it, I would do it for free - even if not forever I had to do it!
After many attempts at trying to get in volunteering in UK shelters and with no success, I was scrolling through my Instagram & saw one of SFT’s post on my timeline who I had followed for a while now. That was it. I emailed Sally straight away enquiring about volunteering. She got back to me & I remember how blunt she was. “You won’t get much sleep, you will be filthy all the time. Let me know if you are still interested.” OF COURSE, I WAS!! (I now realise this is Sally - she is super to the point & I love her for it!)
Approximately 3 weeks after speaking to Sally on the phone I was on my way to Gatwick airport having quit my job of 3 and half years. After telling so many people what I was going to do I had a mixture of people that were happy for me and people that were convinced it was dangerous. I was nervous of course I was but I had a good feeling & I was so right.
I arrived at Tangier airport to be greeted by Sally, a tiny (but loud) beautiful lady who I had no idea would become such a big part of my life. She drove me to meet some strays, we went to the shops to pick up some stuff, it was an incredible first day & then we headed to the sanctuary.
As we drove there she let me know I would be staying in the cat house. She said I had Cooper in there with me, and reminded me he was the baby with the terrible skin condition who had recently been rescued. My heart sank. I had never been near an animal in such bad condition & in all honesty, at the time it made me panic.
WHAT was I worrying about? Cooper became my biggest companion for the 3 weeks I was there. I could just see the hope in his eyes every time he looked at me and I knew that for my 3 weeks there it was my mission to get him into better health. I did exactly that - I gave him his medicine twice a day, I bathed him but most importantly I gave him TLC & he gave it right back to me. He followed me EVERYWHERE. If I went to the toilet, Cooper went too. If I went for lunch, he waited at the gate for me. If I went in the cat house, Cooper came too. He taught me just how important it is to never give up on an animal just because they look sad & like the life has been drained from them - there is always hope & TLC works wonders.
Of course, Cooper wasn’t the only doggie that I spent time with. They are all amazing - all over 300 of them, and the cats of course. It’s just an incredible place to be full of animals who love you for exactly who you are & don’t expect you to be anything else.
SFT is a truly incredible place, founded by a real life superwoman who has the support of several equally incredible workers. I can truly say the sanctuary stole a piece of my heart.
When I returned to England I could not leave it there. I knew there must be stuff that I could help with from across the ocean. Since being home I have helped with lots of their admin work, organising other volunteers & explaining just what its like, posting on their social media platforms & trying to raise awareness. I absolutely love it & I wouldn’t have it any other way.
If you are on the edge unsure whether to take the plunge, let this be your sign - I promise you, you won’t regret it!
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please fill out an application form.