We recently caught up with Animal Welfare Assistants from Hula (Home for Unwanted and Lost Animals).
HULA is an independent charity based in Buckinghamshire, who have cared for and rehomed thousands of animals since opening their doors in 1972. The charity became a subsidiary of the National Animal Welfare Trust back in 2017.
‘HULA was founded by a concerned vet, his wife and other animal lovers, because a lady brought her young puppy into their veterinary surgery and asked for it to be put down “as I’m going on holiday and can’t afford to put the dog in kennels”. At that time, there were no animal rescue centres in Bedfordshire. The vet refused, and Blackie became the first rescued animal.
So, HULA was started in a back garden in Luton but due to the rapid increase in the numbers of animals needing help, moved to its current site in Aspley Guise in 1978.’ Says the HULA team.
The Buddies team came up with a few questions for the Animal Welfare Assistants at HULA to help us learn more about what they do.
What does a regular day entail for you?
‘Our days are nonstop. We start by cleaning Kennels, cats and rabbit pens and our farm sheds. We then do the rounds feeding animals, giving medication, exercising animals, dog walking and training. We also groom and bathe the animals if needed. The morning is then rounded off with cleaning work stations, laundry and sorting through any donations.’
‘In the afternoon, we feed and exercise animals then give afternoon medication. Some days we have vet trips and try to provide enrichment and off-site events wherever possible.’
What is the best bit about the job?
‘The best bit is rehabilitating animals until they find their new family and home. Some of the animals have been through a lot and it’s very hard not to get attached. However, seeing a nervous dog walk into our care not knowing what’s going on, and after weeks/months of training, socialising and helping them feel happy with life. Watching them walk out of our doors with their head held high with their new family, makes it all worth it!’
What is the worst bit about the job?
‘The weather. The animals need us come rain or shine. All year round. Christmas, New Year, every day of the year they still need our help.
It’s also super hard seeing sick animals, and after trying everything to help them, sometimes we do have to say goodbye to some. Whether it’s medical or temperament, it’s always hard.’
Do you have any tips for getting into the job?
‘Get as much experience as you can. Be up for anything, the job is hard work and you always get dirty. Try to volunteer for various charities to give you a broader experience.’
A huge thank you to the HULA team for taking the time to talk to us. If you would like to find out more about HULA, and how you can help them, visit www.HULARescue.org.
Images provided by the fabulous Bridget Davey Photography.