WITH an unprecedented number of surrendered dogs as well as a concerning surge in pet rabbits and other small animals being handed in recently, the DSPCA are appealing for more volunteers to help them with the increased animal intake and over 150 animals in their foster programme.

With life returning to normal following Covid-19, the pressure of the soaring cost of living is leading to households feeling they can no longer meet the many and often complex needs of having a pet. The much loved animal shelter and its staff are coming under extreme pressure with the recent influx of new arrivals.

As a charity, the DSPCA is supported and enhanced by the efforts of a dedicated volunteer base, many of who are retirees citing the mental benefits of working with and exercising the animals in the shelter.

DSPCA currently has 257 active volunteers working in roles from animal care to dog walkers, education talks and tours, administrative duties and events, but it still finds itself under pressure due to the huge amount of time required to care for so many different types of sick and neglected animals.

DSPCA volunteer co-ordinator Joanne McGarry said: “We ensure that our volunteers are involved in all aspects of our work and are valued in everything they do. They are a critical part of the day-to-day operations of the DSPCA. We have some volunteers that have been with us for over 20 years. We ask all our volunteers to support us with at least eight hours per month. On average, our regular volunteers are in the shelter one to two days per week. Our one day per week volunteers stay a full day and the volunteers who come twice per week stay for a 4-hour shift on each day.

“We are eternally grateful for the hard work, dedication and support they give the animals in our care.”

Pascale Ward who volunteers in the Dog Treatment department said: “I had always been interested in volunteering but could never seem to find enough time to devote to it.

“After taking early retirement, I decided to get involved. I thought that working with animals would be interesting since I had grown up on a dairy farm and had always loved animals. I attended an induction talk in 2015, decided to try it out and I am still here!

“Working in the treatment section can be very challenging at times. It is difficult to look at the result of yet another senseless act of cruelty on an innocent little dog.

“There are days when I feel like giving up, but I am inspired by the total dedication of the brilliant kennel manager.”