Smiles of delight and preventing children from being bitten by dogs are what make volunteering for Blue Cross so worthwhile, says Martha Brindley…
For the past eight years, Martha Brindley has brought pet welfare and dog safety messages to the schools and youth clubs around her local community, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
For the former classroom assistant, taking on a Blue Cross education volunteer role meant Martha could keep in touch with children in education and take her dog, Gilly, to work with her.
Martha says: “I combine my passion for dogs with my love of children. I have the best of both worlds.
“As a Blue Cross education speaker, I get immense satisfaction from delivering the message of safety around dogs. If it saves one child from being bitten by a dog, it is worthwhile.”
Martha is just one of a team of volunteers spanning the length and breadth of the country who open children’s eyes to the ways certain situations might make a dog feel and encourage them to make choices that will keep them safe. She also runs talks and workshops on animal welfare to help young people understand just how much pets rely on humans to make sure they are happy and healthy.
Earlier this year, Martha won the prestigious Kennel Club Accredited Instructor Trainer of the Year award and was presented with it at Crufts, the world’s biggest dog show. It’s an honour she undoubtedly deserves.
Although she struggles to pick the best thing that has happened as a result of volunteering, Martha was extremely proud to be mentioned in a motion in the Scottish parliament in recognition of her volunteering work.
Martha says: “I don’t have a particularly memorable talk, but I do remember an autistic boy running up to me in delight to hug the dog. His smile said it all really. His teachers informed me that they had never seen the boy so animated in school.
“I have met so many lovely children from all backgrounds whilst volunteering, and it is quite a humbling experience at times to see their reaction to the dog.”
If you could give something back to your community by volunteering with Blue Cross, get in touch with our Education Team today.