Please tell us a little bit about yourself
My name is Linda and I am a dog groomer. I am from Cork but now live in Kilgarvan, Co. Kerry. I absolutely love being close to the coast, and so do both my KLAWS dogs Border Collie, Oscar and Kelpie Mix, Elka (or Ellie for short). Joe and I adopted Oscar within about a week of starting to volunteer at KLAWS and honestly it was one of the best decisions we ever made. Even Lola our little cat loves him.
How do you volunteer with KLAWS?
When I started with KLAWS I started by doing the website, however as time went on I branched into other areas, such as fostering, manning stalls at markets, transporting the odd animal from here and there, and organising the odd event too. What can I say? I love to get involved!
Why did you become a volunteer?
I always knew that I would like to work with a rescue but I hesitated for a long time. I worried that I wouldn't have enough time. I wasn't sure how to get involved and was a little nervous to "put myself out there" and meet all the new people. Finally, I wasn't sure if I would be any good or if I was "cut out for it" as I know I am very soft when it comes to animals and wasn't sure i'd be able to handle some of the harsh realities of rescuing animals in need. I needn't have worried about any of it though! KLAWS made it all so easy for me! There was no pressure to do or not do anything. Overtime I grew in confidence, made great friends and learned that even if you only have a little spare time there is always so way you can help and join in.
What have you learned from volunteering? Has it changed you in any way?
Absolutely I have learned more about animals and humanity in the last eighteen months than ever before. When you are a part of a rescue you see the very best in people and unfortunately the worst too. I think volunteering has definitely reinforced alot of my beliefs in that most people are really good. Without them KLAWS wouldn't be here. I have also learned how to be more of service to animals. I have learned more about what they need from us and how we can help them. I have also learned that nothing we ever do will compare to what they do for us. Adopting an animal changes your whole world. Lola, Oscar and Ellie have done that for me. Cats and Dogs really are a gift and its our job to make sure they get to live in the home of their dreams.
Is there anything you didn't expect about volunteering?
The family aspect in a way, I mean the closeness with the other volunteers and the regular contact with so many of them. So many people have become a part of my everyday life. Louise from the last volunteer post is now my yoga teacher, another amazing volunteer is my horse riding teacher, and I am going on holiday in the new year with another fab lady from KLAWS (the wonderful Annika who adopted Gradey). I didn't expect to make so many great friends. I have also developed such a close relationship with the amazing vets too!
What would you describe as a high point and a low point of your time volunteering?
Apart from the amazing people as I have mentioned above, my highest and lowest point can be all rolled into one dog - Roxy.
Roxy, a three and a half year old Lab x Collie mix, that came to us as foster in the beginning of November last year. She was the most amazing girl. When we met her she was in a bit of a state. She had Epilepsy. She had many seizures in the beginning it took us weeks of working closely with the amazing vets in All Creatures Kenmare, to get her back on track, with right food and the right medication. She was the funniest dog! So stubborn but in a light-hearted way. Super loving, just wanted to be loved and to be part of a family. Unfortunately, after a few months, before she could make it her new family, her health deteriorated and we had to say goodbye. It was devasting. Two other foster parents took such great care of her too and when the time came, the four of us were there to see her over the rainbow bridge.
Roxy taught me a lot, about epilepsy, about caring for a dog with a health condition and the resilience that dogs have. She fought valiantly until the end, never stopped fighting, never stopped loving. She also taught me the strength it takes to do the right thing and finally how when you love someone you would do it all over again. If I knew how it was going to end, would I do it all over again? Absolutely, in a heartbeat.
Any standout fosters or foster stories?
Obviously my dear Roxy, but there are other amazing success stories that I want mention too since I have started in KLAWS - Cisco, Brody, Ollie, Oscar (Yes, my Oscar, you should have seen how terrified he was when we got him) and Tove, Oscars sister who now lives the most amazing life! These are all dogs that people (myself included) thought would never get a home as they were so fearful and, or reactive. Ben, Prince and Donnie the older boys, sweet, sweet boys. Then finally some kitties Kit, Ellen and Doris. I could go on and on, believe me. It's hard to believe just how many amazing animals I have had the pleasure of meeting in just eighteen months.
What would you say to someone thinking of volunteering?
Go for it! If you decide it's not for you, you can always leave but don't do what I did and wait for years because you are nervous. There are so many different ways that you can help, there is bound to be something that suits you! I guarantee you won't look back and you will make some amazing friends both human and animal in the process. Thinking now on the friends I have and, my two KLAWS dogs, I can safely say, KLAWS has changed my life.