VOLUNTEER TO HELP THE HEDGEHOGS
- We do not take anyone under 16 years of age due to insurance.
- DofE will be considered by special arrangement only.
- ALL shifts are 3 hours on an agreed rota.
- Start times Mon-Sat 9am, Sundays 10am only.
We need reliable volunteers, the animals don't stop eating while you are off doing something else. People who are only coming in to see the hogs and have no intention of coming back the following week need not apply, it's a huge waste of our time training you, time which is better used with the animals or serious helpers.
Hedgehogs are sweet little guys, most of the time. Occasionally we get a demon but they are few and far between. So what does this mean for anyone who offers to help out?
Well, it is very normal to get spiked unless you are wearing extremely thick gloves. Cleaning out cages doesn't necessarily mean having to handle the hogs though. Some have a bed box and others are in separate areas outside in hutches, however, refusing to learn how to safely handle them severly restricts your usefulness to us. We need people who are confident with handling, those of a nervous disposition tend to drop the animal in a panic and we are trying to fix them, not break them.
Some of our sick guys need a lot of treatments. Volunteers are not expected to do any of that so we're the ones that get bitten, not you, but it's a good idea to make sure you have an up to date tetanus injection as the cages sometimes bite back.
If you're not a fan of the stuff that comes out the back end then hedgehog care is not for you. They produce vast amounts of liquid and solids and spread it around liberally over the floor, up the walls, in their bedding and some seem to spend the night shoving it through the bars and onto the floor.
We clean everything out daily. Cleanliness is paramount to avoid spreading illness and even if it wasn't, the smell from one cage not cleaned for 24 hours is unbelievable. We have A LOT of cages... and no gas masks.
What does it mean to volunteer for an animal hospital?
- Volunteering with us is like working for any employer except that you don't get paid.
- You are expected to turn up for work on time, on your rostered day.
- You are expected to do your rostered hours unless agreed in advance
- You are expected to book leave at least 2 weeks in advance.
- We adhere to health and safety rules and regulations.
- Volunteering for us is often hard work, sometimes upsetting
- The most valuable asset you can bring to us is common sense.
- Only reliable applicants need apply. Hedgehogs don't stop eating until you get back from whatever it was you decided to do instead.
We try our absolute best to accommodate people with various disabilities or illnesses who want to help out as volunteers. I have MS and am more than aware of the barriers that can raise. We get quite a lot of requests and as long as you are physically capable of doing the tasks then we are happy to have you on board.
We take health & safety very seriously and provide the safest working environment we possibly can - clear space to work safely is paramount and unfortunately wheelchairs take up a lot of room. We have very limited space and there is lifting involved with no space to get a chair underneath the cages. If you do use a chair please don't be upset if we have to refuse access to the animals, we will always try to find something else you can be involved with.
We do however have to make it clear that we cannot provide a bus service to get people here nor can we afford to pay for taxis to pick up and take back home.
If all of the above hasn't put you off then fill out a Volunteer Application Form and send it along with a recent photo to:
Hedgehog Bottom, 72 Chapel Street, Thatcham, Berkshire RG18 4QN
Many thanks for your consideration