Michelle’s passion for helping dogs internationally
By day, Michelle Wood works in the busy Customer Support department at MSD Animal Health GB. Outside of the office, Michelle’s passion for helping animals has taken her from assisting at puppy classes to even volunteering at a dog rescue centre whilst on holiday!
Michelle says: “I like to unwind by indulging my passion for dogs. I currently assist at puppy classes, helping owners and their dogs achieve their training certificates. I’ve also helped at weekend Recall Training workshops and I’m continually attending courses to increase my knowledge. I have made many new friends through the courses, which means I get to travel around the country visiting them to catch up and get new ideas for the puppy classes.
“I also indulge my passion during my holiday getaways: I volunteer at Galgos del Sol (GDS), a dog rescue centre in San Javier in mainland Spain, which helps to rescue Galgos and Podencos (Spanish sighthounds*, similar breed to greyhounds) and currently homes 120 dogs. I first heard about GDS when I took my rescue greyhound, Roxie, along to a local Greyhound playgroup and met Marian and Terry who help run Greyhound Friends UK, which raises money for charities in the UK and overseas that rescue and re-home dogs such as greyhounds, galgos and lurchers that have been abandoned once their racing and hunting days are over.
Michelle has volunteered at GDS three times now over the last couple of years and has planned her fourth visit for October of this year.
She adds: “Volunteering is very hard work – you muck in with all the jobs, including the cleaning of the kennels, however it is worth every moment when you see the dogs and how much they really do appreciate you. Whilst there you get to help with the rescue dogs’ enrichment by taking them on sensory walks, playing games and giving them one-on-one time, which teaches them that not all people will treat them badly and that they do deserve the sweet life. It is a real team ethic at GDS and, whilst the work is hard, you also have a lot of fun and the sunshine there just tops the experience off.
“People think that because greyhounds are racing dogs, they’re high maintenance, but they’re actually friendly, easy-going dogs – and very lazy! They make great family pets.”