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 backstory 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 someone’s 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.