OT Week 2022 – Supporting Molly to become an SSPCA volunteer

Oct 27 2022 / By

With the support of A Chance for Life Ltd Occupational Therapist Christine Robson, our client, Molly, has achieved a lifelong ambition to work with animals this year – volunteering once a week since January at the SSPCA Dunbartonshire Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre.

Back in 2021, Molly and Christine went together to a careers fair at the Glasgow SEC Arena, where Molly first learned about volunteering opportunities with the SSPCA. Having always wanted to work with animals and growing up with horses, dogs and cats, she was very keen to pursue this, so Christine got to work to help her make it happen…

A Carefully Planned Approach

At the time, Covid restrictions were still in place and Christine worked with the SSPCA to arrange an introductory visit for Molly with all the necessary safety measures.

Although Molly had the motivation to work as a volunteer at the SSPCA she suffered anxiety about meeting new people and she lacked confidence in her own abilities. Christine supported Molly to do induction training and have some taster sessions to meet the staff at the centre and gain experience working with the small animals. Christine used a graded approach to introduce a range of different work tasks to Molly under guidance of the staff at the SSPCA. Activities included cleaning out the small animal sections, feeding, and engaging the animals in social play.

Once the taster sessions were successfully completed it was agreed Molly could work as a volunteer at the centre once a week and goals were set to gradually build up her skills so she could work in the dogs section. Molly was very keen to work with the dogs, but safety measures needed to be put in place to keep her safe as this is the busiest animal section at the SSPCA.

 Developing Independence

Christine continued to provide Molly with 1:1 support at the centre for the first two months, but as her skills and confidence grew, the occupational therapy sessions were reduced to allow Molly to be more independent in her work. Molly has coped very well working in the dogs section and her skills and confidence have increased to a level where she is able to provide care to the dogs and take them out for walks with supervision from a staff member.

Christine has also supported Molly to travel independently to the centre, which is great for her independence and a skill she can now transfer into other areas of her life.

Positive Outcomes

Molly has enjoyed getting to know the staff at the centre. Her favourite thing about volunteering is working as part of a team and being able to give the animals extra attention when staff are busy with other duties.

Molly has become an asset to the SSPCA and the team all love seeing her each week, as do the animals!

Christine is also very proud of Molly’s accomplishments working as a volunteer and it is great to see her anxiety becoming more controlled and her confidence increase.

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