Meg is the newest member of the team and is currently settling in at the centre before working towards a qualification in animal care at Broomfield College alongside her practical work at the centre. Despite having only been here a month or two, Meg is doing very well and has already learnt the ropes! She has a soft spot for the older dogs and volunteers at the Ark rescue centre doing dog walking - Meg is definitely a dog lover. She has also fostered a rabbit for us already, and has proved to be hardworking and fit in with the team straight away!
Meg with Molly the Collie x Spaniel
What does your job involve on a daily basis?
"I start with cleaning the kennels in the morning - first we lock all the dogs into their runs so we can clean the inside kennels (take their beds out, give the blankets a shake, empty their water bowls, hose and disinfect the floor, squeegee it and put the bed and bowl back in) and make sure everything is ready for them to come back inside when their breakfast is prepared and handed out. All of the dogs have a specific diet plan to make sure they are getting adequate nutrition for their size, age and breed. Then we lock the dogs in the back of their kennels and clean the fronts. Some dogs also require medication, so I help out with this. Around my cleaning, I get dogs ready for walks with volunteers and rotate dogs into the yard for exercise. After cleaning the kennels, I move onto the Isolation cats, as these guys aren't suitable for the cat staff to handle for various reasons. It's busy in the mornings!"
How did you get into the role?
"I've always wanted to embark on a career with animals. I've been volunteering at the Ark in Ashbourne for quite a while now, as I enjoy walking the dogs and giving them a nice break and a day out away from the kennels. Recently, I noticed an apprenticeship placement available at the RSPCA so I applied and made it! I'm looking forward to furthering my skills and gaining new ones."
Opal, Meg's foster rabbit
What is the best part of the job?
"It's wonderful to see the difference in animals as they are rehabilitated and rehomed. Seeing them coming into the shelter in a poor state and then getting to see first hand the work that goes into turning them around is amazing. The emotional and physical difference in these animals is incredible to see as they improve in the centre and are able to find new homes. It's great seeing them leave much happier and healthier than when they arrived."
What is the hardest part of the job?
"This can be a very very sad job. Sometimes animals are past saving, and that's hard to deal with, especially as we naturally all want to help every animal that needs it. However, I know that some animals are just suffering too much and it would be crueller to prolong their suffering - it's just difficult trying your hardest and not getting anywhere."
Tell us about your most memorable moment at work
"I haven't been here that long, so this was quite easy for me! Recently we had three little dogs arrive in an appalling state, as they had been kept for breeding their entire lives and clearly hadn't had much attention. I'll never forget the smell, it was awful! We spent all day bathing, clipping and grooming them, and they still weren't the nicest smelling dogs. After plenty more baths, and having a lot of fur taken off they all started to resemble the breeds they were supposed to be and I'm happy to say they've all found new homes. That was quite shocking, and I'll remember that for a while."
Scamp the Yorkie cross
Who was the most memorable animal at the centre?
"For this I'm going to say Scamp. He's a scruffy 14 year old Yorkie cross, who was brought into the centre by an RSPCA Inspector after his previous family no longer wanted him and had left him locked in a room. Scamp is a bit shaky on his legs, and doesn't have the best eyesight, but I loved him as soon as he arrived. He's so loving and friendly, and just wants to greet everybody he meets, it was sad knowing he hadn't had the love he deserved in his previous home. I convinced my sister to foster him with her dog, Holly, and it's going really well. Holly is a dainty little Spaniel, so the pair together look like Lady and the Tramp!"
And finally, have you ever adopted an animal from the RSPCA?
"I haven't actually adopted an animal from the RSPCA before - I've fostered a rabbit from the centre (Opal) and that was fun but she is now ready to find a new forever home. I have a dog called Kylie, who is a beautiful Australian Collie type. We adopted her from Ashbourne Ark as she had been searching for a family for 9 months. Kylie is great, but I think she's enough for now!"
Thank you Meg!