When I started this blog initially I wanted to write about life as an expat and my experiences moving to a new country. Because I’ve been lucky enough to have had time off to get to know the city and travel in California, the blog evolved into more of a travel blog. Although I want to continue writing about my travels I also want to stay true to the original theme of the blog; so this week I bring you a blog post about one of my volunteer jobs at the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SFSPCA).
SFSPCA have a huge campus in the Mission, but I volunteer at the Pacific Heights campus. Both shelters take in dogs, cats and ‘smalls’ (rabbits, gerbils etc.), I work with the dogs as a walker and socializer.
Puppies come into the shelter on a weekly basis and go so quickly, they are adorable but it’s the older dogs that I find need more care and attention. Their back story is unknown and sometimes you just get a sense that they haven’t had happy lives so far. Many come in off the streets. Sometimes the larger dogs take a little longer to be adopted, which is understandable given space is at such a premium in the city and many people live in apartment blocks.
There was a five year old dog in the shelter who I tried to play fetch with. I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t playing until it dawned on me that he didn’t know what fetch was. He’d spent 5 years as someones dog and they had never once played fetch with him. That really broke my heart.
This week I took out a beautiful Dalmatian mix called Darla. She was nervous at first, but after a long walk together she howled when I put her back in her room. I honestly don’t know how I haven’t taken several dogs home yet (the only thing stopping me is that we live in a one bedroom flat on the third floor; not exactly dog friendly).
Thankfully almost all of the dogs get their happy ending, and we have a pin board in the volunteer room to display updates on the adopted dogs (and cats!) from their new owners.
I love volunteering with the SFSPCA because the community of volunteers are a good bunch, I’ve met some lovely people who work or volunteer there. It’s also a great way to get exercise, and obviously being a dog lover helps!
You can find out more about the SFSPCA and the wonderful work they do on their website.
As well as searching for full time work and trying to finish my book, I volunteer with SFSPCA, The Expat Woman, Community Housing Partnership and also do paid dog walking through Rover.com. Please contact me directly if you are considering becoming a volunteer or if you want to find out more about rover.com!
I have found searching for that dream job here more difficult than anticipated and I hope to blog honestly about that soon too. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows here but the volunteer work keeps me busy and allows me to make a positive contribution to the city while I have the time.