Michelle Woolhead, from Glossop, has now topped 2,000 hours of volunteering at Dogs Trust Manchester – having cleaned hundreds of kennels, washed thousands of towels and dog beds, and walked hundreds of miles with rescue dogs in that time.
Michelle, who has been working as a volunteer at the centre since it opened in October 2014, would have reached this milestone even sooner if not for the Covid-19 pandemic. She says, “I can’t believe I’ve done 2,000 hours! I absolutely love volunteering and enjoy every minute, even cleaning kennels and doing the laundry. One of the best things is taking the dogs for offsite walks; it’s great to give them as much variety as possible.
“It was so difficult when volunteers couldn’t help out during the pandemic, but it was fantastic to come back. I can’t imagine not coming here and spending time with the dogs. I have only ever missed time at the centre if I’ve been on holiday, but even then, I can’t wait to come and see the dogs.”
Last year Michelle, who is 54, was due to take part in the Great Manchester Run to raise money for Dogs Trust. When the event was postponed, she ran the 10k distance on the day it would have taken place; this year she was able to take part in the actual event, and raised £764. Far from tired, she is now getting ready to volunteer over the festive period.
“It was great to do something extra for the dogs and to take part this year was brilliant. Now the focus is on gearing up for Christmas!” she says. “Christmas at the centre is always lovely and we make sure all the dogs get special treats on the big day.
“I have always been a dog lover and have had two rescue Collies myself. Some dogs at the centre always stick in your mind and one was a Collie called Oliver. He was with us for more than a year before finding his perfect family.
“I always miss the dogs when they head home, but knowing you’ve played a part in helping them find their happy ever after is wonderful.”