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Volunteer story: Lindsay
Lindsay came to Springer Rescue Scotland more than 5 years ago, signing up as a volunteer for the charity in January 2013.
Lindsay’s Decision to Volunteer
There were two factors that inspired Lindsay volunteer. Firstly, she had 2 cocker spaniels of her own at the time and is a huge fan of the spaniel breeds. At that time, her partner (who is now her husband) was working away from home a lot too. Lindsay found the long evenings stretching out in front of her, and although her dogs were wonderful companions, she decided that she wanted to use her time to do something worthwhile. Not one to sit around watching television, she discovered Springer Rescue Scotland and took the wonderful decision to volunteer.
Lindsay told us there was quite a big gap between her signing up and her first stint as a volunteer. It was December 2013 when she assisted with her first dog assessment. From there, her journey with the charity has moved swiftly onwards. She became an Area Coordinator in February 2014, and the overall Volunteer Coordinator in June 2014. Being a Scotland-wide charity, this is quite a big undertaking!
Lindsay’s Role as a Volunteer
She deals with all new incoming enquiries from potential volunteers. This can be via email or Facebook, and she starts the ball rolling by getting in touch for an initial chat. Because the charity’s website (springerrescuescotland.org) provides a great deal of information, Lindsay finds most people already have a good idea of how they want to help. Once the first conversation has taken place, contact details are forwarded on to the Area Coordinator covering the relevant area. From there, that Coordinator starts a “buddy” process, where the new volunteer can shadow someone who has a bit more experience. This is a fantastic way for newbies to ask questions and find out how the charity works.
It’s important to note that there’s an extra part to Lindsay’s role. As the overall Volunteer Coordinator, she also steps in to any geographical area that’s not covered by an Area Coordinator. Lindsay also says that if she had more time, she would want to be a foster carer for dogs in need, but her full-time working is not conducive to such a role.
How does she fit volunteering around everyday commitments?
Lindsay has a full and busy schedule! However, that doesn’t stop her giving 100% to the charity. She works in a full-time role, although her working week is structured so she has Fridays off. She get’s home from work about an hour before her husband and uses this time to make phone calls, or follow-up on any emails and messages she hasn’t already responded to. Now that’s dedication - when many of us just want to relax or do something for ourselves, Lindsay is still hard at work helping dogs and volunteers all around Scotland. She also uses her Fridays for the charity if required – the day before we spoke to her, she was transporting a Springer in need.
Lindsay was quick to point out her volunteering brings her so much joy. Unfortunately, her own 2 dogs are no longer with her, and she finds that helping other dogs plugs the gap just a little bit. At times it can also be challenging and eye-rolling, but she was happy to say the charity very rarely deals with cases of neglect.
Most of the dogs requiring support are being surrendered by families that have had a change of circumstances and can no longer give that dog the life he or she deserves. She said “It’s like I’m a small cog in a machine, designed to give every spaniel the life they truly deserve.”
A Case Close to Lindsay’s Heart
We asked Lindsay if there was a particular case that stood out to her, during her time as a volunteer, and this is what she told us:
“The story of Tess is enough to bring a tear to a glass eye. She was an ex-breeding bitch, and was subject to a fairly tough life constantly producing litters of puppies. She was brought into foster care in Glasgow through the charity, but we soon realised something wasn’t quite right. After a bit of investigation, we were told she had come to us pregnant.
As a result, she had to be re-located to alternative foster care in the Borders. She had a really difficult birth and sadly lost all but two of her puppies. Tess was only 4 when all of this happened, but after this a loving family was found for her in Aberdeen. They adopted her, and through their love and care, she regained her figure – she had a pronounced dropping belly from the constant breeding. When she first came to us she was such a sad wee thing, but after being adopted she became a happy dog again and had a wonderful 3 years with her new family. Tragically she passed away in early 2018, but we are so glad she got the happy ending she deserved. That’s what Springer Rescue Scotland is all about.”