Back when I first heard of Nibbles rescue I was a stay at home parent to 3 young children, I wanted to do something for me (sounds a bit selfish writing that bit!) so I decided that a volunteer role, one day a week, with one of my favourite animals would be ideal.
I remember almost feeling nervous applying, what if they didn't think I would be suitable? I’ll tell you all now that I'm a born worrier! Ping! Siobhan had emailed to let me know that if I wanted to come in for a trial day to get a feel for the role then I could come in next week, now I was actually worried, what if I wear the wrong kit? What if I can’t find the rescue? Turns out (as per usual) I needn’t have been worried!
I turned up half an hour early to be greeted by Siobhan in the middle of tending to her own animals, oops, I waited in the car for a bit before heading into the rescue. I was then properly introduced to Siobhan and another volunteer, given a full rundown of how Nibbles cleans out the kennels and sent on my merry way to get the bunnies' accommodation cleaned up and give everyone breakfast. After about an hour and a half we went on a tea break, I sat down and immediately knew that I loved the whole place. Yes it’s a lot of cleaning poo but there's just something about seeing all the rabbits clean and happy at the end of the shift that really warmed my heart!
I came back week on week till lockdown happened, we have a private Facebook group for volunteers and all of us really felt for Siobhan and her mum Shirley having to do all the rabbit and rodent cleaning by themselves, with problems in the caravan it felt like we would never get back to it! But once Nibbles was back open to volunteers it was go go go, Siobhan has always had a clear vision for expanding Nibbles and I wanted to help, cue learning about levelling paving, how to put roofing on and a bit of everything else. I think putting the rabbit housing together was probably the point of no return for me, that was it, Nibbles was now a part of me. It wasn’t long before I made a comment that if I could, then I would work for Nibbles, Siobhan then made it her mission to find the funding to have staff!
We had a few conversations about it and then she offered that I start officially in January 2021, it was a no brainer for me (except the childcare concerns, travelling distance and the utter heartache of working in rescue) but then there was a spanner in the works, I was pregnant!
Siobhan reassured me that it would all be fine despite me not having actually started working for Nibbles yet. Well fast forward to July 2021 and so far so good, I was officially on mat leave. Well kind of, I still wanted to know how everybun was doing, what was happening with the new apprentice and everything else! I’ve still popped in twice a week and helped out when needed but I’m nearly at the end of maternity leave and will be back at the rescue properly soon.
I had no idea the time, effort, love, tears and frustration involved in running a rescue, what most people see is just the surface of it. There is a never ending pressure to help these animals and although you know you can only do your best it doesn't stop the pressure from building.
Would I recommend volunteering for Nibbles? Yes wholeheartedly, there is a great privilege in getting to be a part of these animals' lives, seeing them come out of their shells and start enjoying life, regaining their health and ultimately finding their furever home.
P.S I have only taken home 7 mice, 1 hamster and 2 rabbits (one of which is the gorgeous Zizi on foster!).