A day in the life of a Dog School Volunteer!

by Emma Rex // April 2018

Kirstie joined the West Midlands Dog School a year ago having previously supported Dogs Trust and the RSPCA, she now spends her Saturdays supporting the Dog School West Midlands team, Jen, Emma & Kim at their Kenilworth venue.

“What I love about the West Midlands classes is that it’s a really relaxed environment, with lots of laughter, smiles and friendly support.  Not only does this make it a positive place for our customers to visit but also to work within as a volunteer.

Depending on the training week my role can vary from doing shuttle runs to the kitchen for Kongs, to dressing up as a vet or running up and down the barn with a fake baby in a pram!  Prior to classes, we have to set up and prepare any equipment needed, and with up to 5 classes a day this needs to be done quickly so the more people the better.  With everything in its place, it’s time to start.  I do my best to welcome all our customers and their dogs as they come in, complete the register and check they have everything they need.

With 2 coaches and up to 6 dogs per class, I act as another set of eyes and ears.  I support customers with training techniques by repeating instructions or demonstrating the desired handing.   I also try to answer any queries they may have and direct the coaches to any issues that need their expertise, and sometimes I’m just there to provide encouragement or mop up any little accidents that occur in the process.  One thing you can guarantee is that it’s never a dull day. 

What I enjoy most about my role is watching the bond develop between our customers and their dogs, especially those within the rescue classes.  As someone who believes in the Adopt Don’t Shop ethos, it’s wonderful to see the dogs thriving and doing so well in their new forever homes.  It’s a real privilege to work with their new families to ensure they get the best out of their relationship and are able to safely explore the world together"

Kirstie is one of many volunteers who support us each week in classes and really embraces the opportunity of working alongside owners and dogs to support them to succeed in learning skills that will equip them for life and ensuring they are settled and happy in their home with their nearest and dearest surrounding them and fully understanding their needs and wishes.

We have a fantastic community of volunteers helping us out in Kenilworth and Evesham Dog School classes and would like to extend a huge thanks to the whole volunteer team!

Love dogs and love people? If you are interested in working with the West Mids Team and can commit to volunteering for a couple of hours each week then we would love to hear from you. We currently need volunteers in our Great Barr venue, where we deliver training from on Friday evenings. Get in touch using the contact details provided below.

If you’d like to learn more about our training classes give us a call on 01386 835812, or email us at wmidsdogschool@dogstrust.org.uk You can fill out an enquiry form by visiting our main page: www.dogstrustdogschool.org.uk/west-midlands were you will find plenty more information about our classes, content and methods or training dogs and their owners.