Dog handling volunteers needed to help homeless people this Christmas

Specialist volunteers are urgently needed to donate their services to help homeless people in London over the festive season as part of Crisis at Christmas, running from Friday 23 December – Friday 30 December 2011.

Up to nine temporary centres will be set up in London by Crisis, the national charity for single homeless people, as part of Crisis at Christmas.

The centres will provide vital companionship and hot meals for homeless and vulnerably housed people as well as essential services like health checks, housing advice, training and further education opportunities.

Looking after dogs belonging to homeless people will be an integral part of the services on offer during the week. The dogs will be housed in kennels and they will also have access to a basic veterinary check-up.

Crisis needs people with professional or significant experience of handling and working with dogs like dog handlers, veterinary staff or people with kennels experience alongside people who love dogs and have personal experience of handling them.

Shifts run from 7.45 am to 4pm (morning), 3.15 pm to 11pm (afternoon) and 10.15pm to 8.30 am (night) starting on the night of Thursday 22 December through to Friday 30 December. We ask that every volunteer signs up for a minimum of two shifts on two separate days.

Recruitment opens online by 4 October 2011. More details are on the Crisis website here.

Volunteer case study: Rob Lane

Rob volunteered as the Service Organiser for the dogs service for three years:

“I signed up for five shifts as a general volunteer at Crisis at Christmas in 2004. Half way through my third shift I went to help out in the dogs’ area and thought it was really enjoyable so I stayed there for my remaining shifts. I liked it so much that I took over as service organiser the following year. I’m hooked.”

Rob says that a dog is often the most important thing in a guest’s life and looking after the dogs is a huge responsibility. The appreciation from the guests is really incredible.

“I signed up as a volunteer for Crisis after finding myself at a loose end one Christmas. Now I couldn’t imagine doing anything else at Christmas.”

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