Volunteer goes the extra mile this Christmas for dogs in need

A dog lover has topped 2,000 hours of volunteering at Dogs Trust Manchester having cleaned hundreds of kennels, washed thousands of towels and dog beds and walked hundreds of miles with four-legged friends. 

Michelle Woolhead, who lives in Glossop, was one of the very first volunteer recruits when the Denton centre opened in October 2014. Since then she has volunteered every week, doing whatever is needed to help the dogs have the best time possible whilst they wait for their forever homes. 

Michelle says:

“I can’t believe I’ve done 2,000 hours!  I absolutely love volunteering and enjoy every minute, even cleaning kennels and doing the laundry. One of the best things is taking the dogs for offsite walks; it’s great to give them as much variety as possible.  

“It was so difficult when volunteers couldn’t help out during the pandemic, but it was fantastic to come back. I can’t imagine not coming here and spending time with the dogs. I have only ever missed time at the centre if I’ve been on holiday, but even then, I can’t wait to come and see the dogs.”  

Dogs Trust Manchester, which looks after around 80 dogs every day of the year, has a team of more than 30 volunteers to help make sure the dogs receive the best care possible while they wait for their permanent homes.  

Maxine Baker, Volunteer Co-ordinator, says: 

“Michelle is an absolute star! She has done lots of training and now has the skills to work with our longer-term dogs to help them prepare for the day they find their forever homes. We know we can rely on her and she is a pleasure to work with. We are always as happy to see her as the dogs are.”  

Last year Michelle, who is 54, was due to take part in the Great Manchester Run to raise money for Dogs Trust. Although the event was postponed due to the pandemic, she ran the 10k distance on the day it would have taken place. This year she took part in the actual event and raised £764. 

Michelle says:  

“It was great to do something extra for the dogs and to take part this year was brilliant. Now the focus is on gearing up for Christmas! Christmas at the centre is always lovely and we make sure all the dogs get special treats on the big day. 

“I have always been a dog lover and have had two rescue Collies myself. Some dogs at the centre always stick in your mind and one was a Collie called Oliver. He was with us for more than a year before finding his perfect family. I always miss the dogs when they head home, but knowing you’ve played a part in helping them find their happy ever after is wonderful.”  

To find out how to give your dog a happy, relaxed Christmas, and how you can support dogs at Dogs Trust who are still waiting to find their forever homes, visit www.dogstrust.org.uk/christmasadvice