Catch up with… Anna and Neil Dunstan

01 JUNE 2022

At Battersea, we're very lucky to work alongside our amazing volunteers who support our work and help us care for more dogs and cats.

We really couldn't do what we do without our amazing volunteers, so it's always wonderful when we get the opportunity to sit down with some of them and learn more about why they choose to give Battersea their time and effort.

We caught up with Anna and Neil Dunstan, our very first Community Rehoming Volunteers based in Guildford, to find out more about what makes up a typical day for them.

Anna Dunstan

Neil on the sofa with Pickle the staffie

Tell us a bit about your role - what does it involve day to day?

In the weeks when we have a dog, it’s a gentle routine of feeding, walks and learning about their behaviours for feedback to the Battersea team. This helps them find the best match for their new home. But all the dogs have been different so it’s been interesting and great fun to learn about their individual ways.

What makes your role so special?

It’s the appreciation shown by all the dogs we’ve cared for - from wagging their tails excitedly first thing in the morning; showing enthusiasm to go for a walk to curling up on the sofa next to us!

Pickle in Garden

What has been your favourite Battersea moment so far?

Helping Pickle, our first foster dog, find a lovely home after she’d spent six months at the Old Windsor kennels. We watched her relax into a home environment and learned about her ways so that her new family knew everything about the dog that they were welcoming. She’s now settled in and living happily in Buckinghamshire!

Why did you choose to volunteer with Battersea?

Pickle in Garden

Pickle in Garden

The role of Community Rehoming Volunteer provided an opportunity for us to help a number of dogs. We attended the Big Day Out event in Guildford which was a great chance to speak to Battersea staff and to understand what the role involved. That was the point at which we made the decision to sign up. Since then it’s been great to feel part of a united team of staff and volunteers.

What has been the biggest learning curve since starting at Battersea?

As a household we went from having little experience of dogs to having full time care of several different breeds. That said, our Community Rehoming Volunteer contacts Shaun and Mala have always been on hand to provide support when we needed it. There’s a strong sense of everyone working towards a common goal in supporting the animals.

What was it like to look after Battersea animals during the pandemic, and what difference have they made?

Taking a dog into your home is a very nourishing experience at any time. Having a dog during the pandemic, caring for them and and keeping their routine provided cheerful relief from the difficult situation around us. There’s also been great camaraderie with other dog walkers on morning and evening walks.

Thanks to volunteers like Anna and Neil, Battersea is able to reach new communities and work with local animal lovers to help more dogs and cats. Find out more about our Battersea communities.

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