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SPRINGER RESCUE SCOTLAND BLOG

Springer Rescue Scotland Volunteer Story - Lana

Like many of the volunteers at Springer Rescue Scotland,  Lana came to the organisation in one role, but has actually worked in a number of different positions to help out the charity. She has been volunteering for the organisation for about 6 years now, initially starting out as the very first transport co-ordinator. Interestingly, a lot of the volunteers play a role in transporting dogs from their current home to their foster home. While we spoke with Lana to write this blog, she was actually doing the middle part of a journey for a dog travelling between Central Scotland and Aberdeenshire. This transport run involved 3 volunteers, each taking a portion of the journey, so it’s not such a daunting drive for a single person.

 

How did Lana come to the charity initially?

Lana has always had an involvement with dogs, having being brought up with Cocker Spaniels. Before she and husband had children, they used to volunteer for another dog charity, both fostering and carrying out home checks for the adoption process. They had also had a Springer Spaniel who had sadly passed on. Following on from being the first Transport Coordinator, Lana took on an Area Coordinator role and was then the Foster Coordinator…. twice!

 

When their children were young, she put her volunteering on the back burner for a while, but when their youngest was about to leave home for university, she thought “What on earth am I going to do with my time now?” Lana came across Springer rescue Scotland on Facebook, where the group were looking for a Transport Coordinator. She decided this would fit the bill and made contact. Needless to say, at that point the charity wasn’t inundated with applicants, and that is how she came to the role. So, all in all, she has been Foster Coordinator for about 3 years in total.

 

Lana’s Volunteer Roles

We asked Lana how her role fits in with the overall process of rescuing a dog, and she gave a very clear picture of how all the pieces fit together, so everything works as smoothly as possible. Very much like a jigsaw, all the pieces are needed.

 

Lana’s Volunteer Roles

We asked Lana how her role fits in with the overall process of rescuing a dog, and she gave a very clear picture of how all the pieces fit together, so everything works as smoothly as possible. Very much like a jigsaw, all the pieces are needed. The committee for Springer Rescue Scotland covers four main areas:

  1. The Dog Coordinator – this is the first point of call for most people who need to re-home a Springer. As much information as possible is collected from the current owner, so the charity can start to build up an awareness of that particular dog.
  2. Dog Assessment – one of the volunteers assesses the dog in its own home, to further build on the picture of their life. Prior to this, a discussion will take place between that volunteer and the Dog Coordinator, where initial information gathered is discussed.
  3. Foster Care – using the information from the dog assessment, the Foster Coordinator will match the dog with the best foster home. This is where Lana is heavily involved. She explained there are many considerations that go into deciding where to place a dog that needs fostering.  For example, “If a dog has ever bitten, we would never place that dog into foster care where there are children. If a dog has shown any aggression towards other dogs, it won’t be placed into a foster home where there are other dogs.” Lana will discuss each dog with the best potential foster carer, and then if they agree to take the dog, the transport requirements are arranged.
  4. Rehoming – as part of the dog assessment, and during the period of the foster stay, any vet treatment needed is recorded and advised by the foster carer. Medical or behavioural needs of a dog may come to light at any stage during this whole process, or new needs may surface. Behavioural support is supplied if needed, by a specialist company called Think Pawsitive. Ongoing assessment of the dog is carried out during the fostering, and when the group think a dog is ready to be rehomed, a biography is written up and displayed on their website. This is where interested people may apply to adopt a rescued dog.

Volunteering Challenges

As Foster Coordinator, Lana told us that sometimes it can be more difficult to place a dog into a foster home during holiday periods. She said, “Everyone has their own lives and school holidays can be challenging as people want to spend family time together. Fostering a new dog can be a big responsibility, and some people are just too busy during holiday times. Christmas is another difficult time – there may be visitors in the home, and it’s not conducive to taking in a dog that perhaps needs a quieter adjustment to a new environment.”

 

She also told us that volunteering can take over your life at times. Emergency situations don’t necessarily arise at convenient times, and it’s been known for a group of volunteers to be scrabbling around in the middle of the night trying to rescue an abandoned dog.

 

Fitting Volunteering into Daily Life

Lana’s husband luckily likes dogs and appreciates the demands of her volunteer work. Whilst their children have all left home now, they both still work, and Lana works 4 days a week. However, volunteering is what she wants to do, and she said, “Helping the dogs is the be all and end all. That’s why we do it.”

 

The group come across cases where a dog should never be in the home they are, and sometimes a different environment can make all the difference. Placing dogs in the best forever homes they can is exactly what Springer Rescue Scotland does, trying to ensure a happy a life as possible for them all.

 

Lana’s Favourites

Every dog is special to each foster carer, but two of Lana’s favourites are ex-working dogs. She has fostered two of these herself – Paddy and Lee - amongst many other dogs.

 

She told us why ex-working dogs are particularly special to her: “Sometimes dogs are no longer wanted once they come to the end of their working life! It’s such a shame, as they have worked all their lives for a particular owner, but maybe through their age or condition, they are no longer up to the same level of work the owner is used to. However, in many cases, they are not given any sort of retirement as pets. Many are wonderful dogs, but sometimes they are not a preferred option for a fosterer. They have often lived in outside kennels during their working life, and may not be house trained – but they are usually very well-trained in every other respect! For some this is an extra hassle, but if they could get past this, many adapt to being pets really well and are easy to foster.”

Springer Rescue Scotland Paddy Rescue Dog

 

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