Volunteering, as described in Wikipedia, “is generally considered an altruistic activity where an individual or group provides services for no financial or social gain to benefit another person, group or organization". For us veterinary nurses, the benefits are many. Not only for the owners or animals we may work with but for the nurses themselves. Skill development and putting knowledge to practical use is great for professional development, as is meeting new people and making new friends with similar interests.
There are many ways to volunteer – from joining a local not for profit group to travelling to a destination overseas whose animals are less fortunate, hands-on nursing, fundraising or other activities behind the scenes. These will depend on your skills and time available. The benefits for mental health and wellbeing by helping and making positive changes in the lives of other beings are priceless.
If your interest lies in wildlife, consider joining a wildlife rescue group. For a yearly membership fee, you could be provided with training and mentorship. It is rewarding to work with our native birds and animals and you will learn about how to rescue, care and release. A few you could try include Fauna Rescue, Koala Rescue or 1300 KOALAZ - Adelaide Koala Rescue, Rehabilitate, and Release.
Safe Pets Safe Families provide a service to those in domestic violence situations by assisting with accommodation, fostering and veterinary care to allow pets and families to stay together. You can help with administration duties, animal transportation, marketing, participating in fundraising activities and pop up vet clinics, homeless outreach services or fostering a pet. Volunteering provides a valuable service to both vulnerable families and their beloved families.
Of course, there are many other organisations, such as Guide Dogs SA, Greyhound Adoption Program, Zoos, Friends of Parks, etc so find your passion and volunteer! Making a positive change to an area in which you are passionate about, gives a great sense of satisfaction. In short, helping others makes you happier.
Written by Belinda Battersby, Veterinary Nurse.