Meet one of our volunteer dog walkers, Jon.
Please tell us a little bit about your life outside of BCDH
I grew up in Plymouth, Devon, and after a 12year stint in the RAF, I settled in Frome in sunny Somerset. I work as an aircraft engineering supervisor at RNAS Yeovilton, providing elementary flying training to the RN.
Outside of work my main interest is obviously BCDH, but I also am a keen rugby fan, usually watching Oldfield, Combe Down and Bath Ladies, after a shift of dog walking! I also am a keen runner and manage to get in some runs, but not as many as when I was younger and fitter. In the Summer months I also like to go for some long bike rides, usually taking in some Somerset hills.
I’m interested in all things West Country, especially Industrial archaeology, discovering old railway lines, canals and airfields etc. I also am a big wildlife fan, especially birds, so when walking up at BCDH, I can encapsulate many of my interests!
How long have you been volunteering at BCDH
I’ve been volunteering at BCDH since February 2010, which means I’ve been here for 13.5 years. I wouldn’t like to guess how many dogs I’ve walked over the years, but I’ve worn out many pairs of walking boots, raincoats and walking trousers in that time.
What do you do here?
I am primarily a Volunteer Dog Walker at BCDH. I usually do Saturdays/Sundays generally from around 9:00 am through to 2:30pm, ish, depending on what Rugby match is on and how many needy dogs need a good walk!
I sometimes come up on weekdays but only if I’m on leave or Bank Holidays etc.
I also help out at events like “Wag Walk”, usually as a Marshall or manning the car park, although the home doesn’t put on as many events now as it once did.
Why did you want to volunteer for BCDH?
I started volunteering at BCDH in February 2010, shortly after our pet dog, Patch, passed away.
At the time I felt that I wasn’t in the right place to consider owning another dog, but I missed the joy of being a dog owner. A friend of a friend was a dog walker at BCDH at the time and she suggested that it was something I could consider doing.
I came up to the Home (back then you had to que at weekends to do dog walking) and got allocated a lovely Collie dog. I found it emotionally tough at first, but soon got addicted to it! I haven’t looked back since.
What do you most enjoy about volunteering?
I love the whole thing! Meeting up with fellow like-minded volunteers, chatting to the various staff members, enjoying the beautiful countryside in the Bath area and, most of all, seeing the look on the faces of the dogs as they come out of the kennels, knowing that a long walk or session in the paddock awaits them!
As a dog walker I do get to meet so many different dogs and they all have their own personalities which makes for such fun when out on walks.
What would you like to say to anyone considering volunteering for BCDH?
I would say to potential volunteers: You have the chance to make a difference to the lives of many dogs and cats at the home. You will also make new friends, experience the amazing countryside around the BCDH area, or volunteer in the shops or on site and get experience of the many volunteer roles that the Home has to offer.