Volunteering: everyone wins (and being appreciated feels good)

volunteering: everyone wins 1
Ralphie at the Annual Reunion

I’ve had a Battersea Dogs & Cats Home themed week.  As well as my usual volunteering role socialising (aka cuddling) cats, I’ve been involved in two special events.

Last Sunday saw me volunteering at the Annual Reunion, a fun day for former Battersea dogs and their owners with stalls, agility and obedience games, and  contests galore (waggiest tail, anyone?).

My role was setting up the raffle stall and selling tickets.  Skills required included bunting hanging and numeracy, the latter not being one of my greatest strengths if I’m honest, so a good opportunity to practise.

However I jumped at the chance to stand in for a volunteer on one of the agility games and ended up staying most of the afternoon it was so much fun.

Some of the dogs positively flew over the jumps, while the tiny ones could barely clamber over them – when they could be bothered!  Then there were the “outtakes” – the dogs that went in the wrong direction or round the outside of the course, with the seconds ticking away on the stopwatch. It was brilliant and hilarious.

I certainly had a lot of fun at the Annual Reunion and I could tell the ex-Battersea dogs and their owners did too.

Aoife: best treat catcher

[See more at https://www.battersea.org.uk or on Battersea’s Facebook page (search @Battersea) or on Twitter]

Later in the week I went on a visit with other Battersea volunteers to the Old Windsor site. We were welcomed with coffee and pastries and generally treated like royalty (royalty, Windsor…).

We had a tour of the site, a dog training demonstration by an animal behaviour specialist and were taken for a walk along the river at Runnymede by some of the dogs.

We all came away with an even greater sense of belonging and commitment to the organisation, and feeling appreciated because of the special experience Battersea had given us.

On top of this I had an email saying “a huge thank you for all of your help at the Annual Reunion… we really appreciate you giving up your time to come along. We couldn’t do the event without our amazing volunteers!”

That’s the great thing about volunteering – everyone wins!

You get to do something you’re passionate about.  And you not only get the intrinsic reward of doing some good, but maybe even have fun at the same time.  The recipients of your efforts benefit.  You help the organisation you volunteer for to fulfil its role cost-effectively.  And everyone appreciates you!

I’ve written in more detail about the benefits of volunteering [here] and passion and involvement [here].  It bears repetition that these are things that make you feel more positive about yourself and about life in general, increasing your happiness levels and your wellbeing.  

Images from Battersea’s Facebook page.


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  • It looks like a lot of fun! Although I’m not sure Nash would have managed the agility either and it has nothing to do with the size of his legs…

    I totally agree with you about the importance of volunteering and giving something back. I’m – finally – starting volunteering with Crohn’s and Colitis UK next week. It’s taken a while to find something that both uses skills I think I have to offer after 32 years in the Civil Service and that means something too me (I have a friend who has lived with this terrible condition for 40 years). I’m really looking forward to it and to using my brain again – another benefit of volunteering. I did think about volunteering with a dog charity but would have ended up with a houseful.

    And I have signed up for a Mosaic course staring next week – this year’s version of the garden design course. Not something I have ever done before but it sounds like fun and it will be good to do something creative for a change.

    Thank you for your blog. I enjoy reading it and it makes me think about what I could/should be doing. Keep it up!

    • Thank you so much for your encouragement Lorraine – it is lovely to get your positive feedback! And I’m delighted you’ve found a volunteering role that ticks all your boxes. The mosaic course does sound like fun. Perhaps you could work a moroccan theme into your garden design… Enjoy!

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