I had previously volunteered at Twala in 2014 and 2016, which sparked my interest in a career involved in animal care. I went on to train as a veterinary nurse with a degree at the Royal Veterinary College and qualified this year. I came back to Twala just after qualification to gain experience and utilise the skills I have learnt in an environment that needs them the most. Having just got home from 4 months at Twala, I can honestly say that I have had the most amazing experience in caring for and treating new species - not just dogs and cats, but also horses, donkeys, ostriches, duikers, tortoises, owls, servals, civets, monkeys and squirrels.
The community outreach programme for low-income families was one of my highlights. This involves feeding 400-600 dogs per week, sometimes it being their only meal, and seeing the happy faces on both dog and owner. As a veterinary volunteer, I would assist the resident veterinarian Vinay with vaccinating dogs against rabies and overseeing interesting cases. I also assisted the vets in surgery with sterilising these dogs; I gained so much surgical knowledge and experience. Being an integral part of this programme was highly rewarding.
At Twala, each and every volunteer is treated as part of the family. Twala trustee Sarah will take you in with open arms and make you really feel at home, and Twala manager Collin will look after you and provide lots of laughs. Volunteers live together in a house at the heart of the sanctuary and get involved with all aspects of working with the animals. It truly is a hands on experience in an extremely ethical way, with the animals interests and needs put first. It really is the definition of a sanctuary - a safe place for people and animals.