Meet SPCA Wellington Centre's Archie!
Meet Archie, Volunteer Programme Support at SPCA Wellington! Read about her favourite memories, the biggest challenges, and how she got started with the work.
How would you describe your work, in a nutshell?
I sign up awesome people to help SPCA take care of animals in need.
What made you want to work for SPCA?
Before I was a staff member, I was a volunteer! I had recently moved to New Zealand and I hadn’t started working yet. I signed up and started volunteering in the vet care area once a week. I enjoyed it so much, I picked up another shift and started fostering. Eventually I ended up coming 5 days a week and was here the whole day! I loved helping the animals and I felt so useful. The volunteer team had approached me to help out with some work and the rest is history.
What does an average day look like for you?
A typical day begins with checking through the emails to see if there are any volunteer apologies for the day, if so let the teams know as soon as possible and then check on the volunteers and students in person. After we ensure everyone has shown up for their shifts and there are enough hands on deck to care for the animals, we get on with the rest of the inbox and applications. There is always somethings to do and it varies quite a bit depending on where we are in the year i.e. peak kitten season means we need more volunteers and fosterers ASAP!
What is the biggest challenge of your work?
There are times when several volunteers on the same shift may not come in without any or with only short notice. Its hard when you are expecting four people, but only one person comes in. It may seem minor, but it effects so many people – my team, the other volunteers, the animal care/vet teams and the animals and the next shifts for the day. These are things completely outside our control, and often can’t be helped, so we must be prepared for anything and flexible on a daily basis.
What is the best memory you've made at SPCA, or your favourite part of the work?
The SPCA has been an amazing chapter in my life - its through which I have the best friends and colleagues and four incredibly naughty animals at home.
I love seeing young volunteers sign up as soon as they turn 16 and go on to become vets and vet nurses. I love seeing people get addicted to volunteering like I did, and pick up as many extra shifts as possible! Fosterers failing and keeping their foster animals always makes me smile – I’m 100% guilty of doing that myself! Students who came to complete hours and continue to volunteer after their course is finished. In true Sound of Music fashion – these are a few of my favourite things.
And then of course the animals - my office window oversees the outdoor adoptions area. We used to have a goat who would make eye contact on a daily basis and eye up my desk plants! Memories like that are quite unique and make me smile when I go through old photos.
Is there one thing you wish people knew about your job?
When we say what a difference each volunteer or fosterer makes - we 100% mean it! Every single person makes a difference to us and to the animals on every single shift. It really does take a village to raise each animal and everyone from the staff, volunteers, fosterers, people who garden for the centre, dog squad, knitters, landlords (who allow their tenants to foster), cafes collecting newspaper for us, corporation who think of us for their volunteer days and people who donate goods and monetarily– we are so lucky to be surrounding by so many amazing people. So in short, when we say thank you, I’m not sure I can convey how much we really and truly mean it.