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Volunteers' Week Day 2 - volunteering with animals

02 June 2016

Rebecca McMullan volunteers with Crosskennan Lane Animal Sanctuary who are based just outside Antrim and are committed to helping all kinds of animals - mainly horses and ponies, but also dogs, cats, rabbits and chickens.

Here’s Rebecca’s story:

“My role as animal carer involves working with and training horses with the vision of getting them rehomed.  I teach the horses how to be groomed, learn them to lead and some I start training for riding.  I help out if there are activities going on at the sanctuary like birthday parties or if the ‘animals helping people’ groups are around, which are groups of children with learning disabilities or from deprived areas.  In addition at times we will go out to care homes etc. to do fundraisers.    I take along dogs, chickens and cats - we always have lots of fun!

I have always loved horses, and have always been aware that the sanctuary existed and wanted to get involved.  When I was 13, I began doing my Duke of Edinburgh and it has continued on from then, and I now volunteer 2 days a week.  However, what began with horses quickly turned into a passion to help all types of animals who have suffered trauma in their lives,.

I love the flexibility and the atmosphere of volunteering with Crosskennan Animal Sanctuary.  It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from - there is something for everybody here, roles and tasks can be changed to suit.  The greatest reward I get is seeing the horses go out to new homes and doing well, that’s what I enjoy most.  It is incredible watching the transformation that the animals go through once arriving at Crosskennan.  This ranges from dogs who were thought to be ‘useless’ or ‘aggressive’, to horses who were considered to be ‘not worth the effort’ or that could never be worked with.  All of these animals get the chance they deserve at Crosskennan; some move on to lovely homes and others have a permanent home with us working with the ‘Animals Helping People’ groups.

If you care about animals and want to help improve their quality of life this is a great place to volunteer.  The atmosphere is great, our shared love for animals creates a positive environment.  You get to see the progression of the animals and that’s very rewarding.  I would encourage others to give up as much time as they can, even just an hour grooming a horse or taking a dog for a walk makes a world of difference to them.”

For more information about Crosskennan Lane Animal Sanctuary, visit www.crosskennanlane.org.uk

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