A new charity whose volunteers provide care to pets when owners are sick or unable to look after them is appealing for help in the Roe Valley.
Rosie’s Trust was founded last year by Bronagh O’Neill, a nurse, to provide practical care and support to vulnerable animal owners.
Volunteers are asked to spare their time to help animals when their owners are unable to, including regular dog walks, or tending to a cat and its litter tray.
Volunteer Rowena Gillen said it’s heartbreaking for pet owners to have to part with their animals when they can no longer care for them.
“You find the animals being sent to sanctuaries, but we try to step in before a crisis happens. We visit the person and do what they’re not able to do. That could be walking the dog or feeding the cat; whatever they need us to do. It’s mostly dogs right now, but we will volunteer wherever we can and are needed,” said Rowena, adding: “As soon as a dignosis is made, we want people to let us know and we will step in and it means the animal doesn’t end up in a sanctuary.”
Volunteers Louisa McCracken and Frances Steele are currently helping a client in Limavady.
Louisa volunteered after taking her voluntary exit from the Civil Service. She recalls the impact on her grandfather when he became unwell and went to live in a nursing home, and his dog was given away.
“There are elderly people out there who have nothing else but their animal, so you’re stepping in to fill that void,” said Louisa. “It’s very satisfactory. It takes the pressure off the person and allows them to concentrate on getting better, knowing the dog is being taken care of.”
Frances said: “I am enjoying it, and the fact the lady is so appreciative of it. It is very flexible; the time you can offer,” she said. “The charity works with you, and your availability, and there are several volunteers working with one person.” explained Frances.
Ashleen Schenning from Limavady Volunteer Centre encourages people to consider volunteering with Rosie’s Trust.
“There are lots of ways we can work in partnership together with Rosie’s Trust, and we are looking forward to doing that in the future,” said Ashleen.
LCDI manager, Joanne Kinnear, said LCDI’s function is to suppport community groups to be able to develop and grow.
“Sometimes when smaller organisations set up, their energy is sapped by doing all the mundane stuff, the stuff you have to do in order to survive so, we are hoping we can provide that support network through the Volunteer Centre. We have lots of connections with the community, and we have resources we are able to use so we are looking forward to using them,” said Joanne.
For information visit www.rosietrust.org or call LCDI about volunteering on 028777 65438.