Battersea Old Windsor’s Longest Serving Volunteer Spends Almost a Quarter of a Century Caring for Dogs

03 Jun 2024

Battersea Old Windsor’s longest-serving volunteer is being celebrated this Volunteers’ Week (3 – 9 June 2024) for her support caring for thousands of dogs for more than 24 years.

Ann Palmer started her volunteering journey in February 2000 as she wanted to spend more time with dogs and support animals who needed it most. Since then, she has given thousands of hours of her time to volunteering at Battersea. 

In her role as a Dog Socialiser at the charity’s Berkshire centre, Ann helps animals get ready for their new homes through taking them on regular walks, keeping their minds busy with games in their kennels and providing them with plenty of love and fuss. Going the extra mile, she also cares for dogs in her own home through Battersea’s Fostering programme, helping prepare the animals for life in a loving new home. 

Reflecting on her volunteering journey, Ann said: “After my late mum’s Yorkshire Terrier sadly passed away, I really missed being around dogs and wanted to try something new. Even 24 years later, volunteering at Battersea is still the highlight of my week. I’ve always had a soft spot for the older dogs who need a bit of extra support and since starting my role, I have rehomed 12 dogs who have lived out their golden years with me. Battersea is such a special place and I always look forward to my next volunteering day.”

Ann has befriended dogs of all shapes and sizes on her visits to Battersea but was always drawn to the quirkier residents in the charity’s care. One of her favourite memories at Battersea was meeting an elderly Yorkshire Terrier called Phyllis with no teeth, who despite her small stature, had a bold personality and very quickly won Ann’s heart. After taking her on foster to help her gain confidence, Ann decided to give Phyllis a permanent home where they had many happy memories together.

Almost a quarter of a century on, Ann continues to volunteer at Battersea, bringing smiles and companionship to the staff and animals at the centre.

Poppy Duckett, Volunteer Services Manager at Battersea, said: “Ann has made a real difference to the lives of so many animals during her time volunteering for us, from helping nervous dogs come out of their shells to giving them a friendly face to spend time with each day. From day one she got stuck in with life at Battersea, not only with her day-to-day duties but she’s always keen to get involved with everything, giving our grounds a spruce up and attending our events with her Battersea dogs.

“We are so grateful for our dedicated volunteers like Ann who tirelessly support the animals in our care and nothing is ever too much trouble. Ann is an absolute pillar of our volunteering team at Battersea, and we are so lucky to have had her support for more than 24 years. Here’s to many more!”

Battersea is always looking for volunteers and Foster Carers like Ann across its three centres. For more information or to find out how you can get involved, visit Battersea's website.


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Notes to editors  

  • At Battersea we offer our love and expert care to dogs and cats who need us by rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals at our centres, and by sharing our knowledge and resources with rescue organisations around the world. We do this because we want to help every dog and cat, everywhere.  
  • In 2022 Battersea directly cared for 2,278 dogs and 2,253 cats at our three centres. We also helped thousands more through our Communities programme, campaigning work, supporting other rescues and animal welfare advocates, and sharing knowledge and advice with pet owners.
  • In addition to the site in South West London, Battersea also has two other centres based at Old Windsor, Berkshire and Brands Hatch, Kent.
  • To find out more visit our website or follow Battersea on Twitter @battersea_ , Instagram @battersea or