Meet Mark, or “Uncle Mark”, as other volunteers affectionately call him, an avid dog lover and owner since 12. Do not be fooled, Uncle Mark is more than meets the eye – he is a retired Colonel, with a wealth of professional and life experiences. The many adventures Mark and his dogs shared together motivated him to volunteer with SOSD in 2013.
“The unconditional love dogs give in return for our care is so powerful that it is very difficult to turn your back on the homeless and abused dogs out on the streets. I found out about dog welfare groups from browsing the Internet and Facebook but it was clear early on, which of the groups I would like to volunteer for.”
Through volunteering, Mark learnt how to handle dogs with different temperaments: “Dogs require firm and consistent handling, and the occasional tough love. With SOSD’s volunteer training system, volunteers who help to walk dogs are able to provide standardized handling techniques which result in the dogs’ consistent behaviour.”
Volunteering with SOSD has its ups and downs and exciting moments: “One of my most unforgettable volunteer experiences was we when helped search for a lost dog, Cole, at Biopolis. After a fruitless two-day search, I spotted him following sighting reports, and came as close as two metres but lost him in the bush. After Cole’s fosterer arrived, Cole emerged from hiding because he recognized the fosterer’s voice and the sound of his favourite squeaky toy. Their re-uniting was such good news!”
Mark started out as dog walker, but today he not only helps with the Transport team, but also with Education & Outreach, shelter tours, and puts his impeccable English to good use by helping with Facebook posts. Mark may have retired from his job, but today, through volunteering, he continues to live life to the fullest, and make a difference in the lives of others in need. Thank you Colonel, for your amazing work!
SOSD’s Transport Team needs more volunteers! Find out more about the transport team and join us!