Team: Transport and Palliative Paws
What is your role at EPC?
At the moment I’m volunteering at EPC in the areas of Transport and Palliative Paws (dog walking). Dog walking usually takes about an hour per week while transport can be variable. This week I had two transport sessions and both of them took about three hours. Often with the longer ones I sit and have a coffee while I wait for my client to be ready to go.
Why did you decide to volunteer at EPC?
Before I retired, I was a teacher for 35 years and would speak to say, 200 people a day, while when I retired I would only talk to one or two people a day. So, getting out and meeting with people is good for me. My partner, Leanne, has been volunteering at EPC as a Community Support volunteer for the past 15 years. She also waters the indoor plants at EPC and does some dog walking. I decided to volunteer at EPC as I had heard quite a bit about it from Leanne. You could say I was dragged into it by her!
What is the best thing you have found about volunteering?
It’s worthwhile in itself doing the work, plus the doggy walking is good exercise! I meet a lot of interesting people from young to old, and they all have a story to tell. Some of their stories are really interesting. At times communication can be difficult, either due to illness or language challenges. Sometimes I meet the family as well.
Has there been anything that surprised you or that’s been really challenging?
Some of my clients are really unwell, and you may have to guide them a bit. It can be sad because things aren’t going well for them. And the fact that some clients might die soon – for example I visited a client and then, three days later, he died. That’s a difficult part of the role.
Why do you continue to work with EPC?
I just want to keep going – and, as I said before, it’s a good thing to do. I’ve been doing this work for 1 ½ years now – I guess I’m still a bit of a new chum – and I enjoy catching up with a couple of other fellows who volunteer, as part of a peer support group.