Volunteers sign up to maintain welfare of pets for isolating owners

PUBLISHED: 06:30 29 March 2020 | UPDATED: 12:05 29 March 2020

A previous dog walking event arranged by Norwich Best For Pets Picture: Michele Neave

A previous dog walking event arranged by Norwich Best For Pets Picture: Michele Neave

Michele Neave

Animal lovers have united to ensure owners unable to walk their pets or visit a vet have help to turn to during the coronavirus lockdown.

A previous dog walking event arranged by Norwich Best For Pets Picture: Michele NeaveA previous dog walking event arranged by Norwich Best For Pets Picture: Michele Neave

Community group Norwich Best for Pets is working with Norwich City Council and Voluntary Norfolk to coordinate volunteers able to help those who are self-isolating or unable to get their usual assistance due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Michele Neave, from Eaton, set up the group in 2015 and is keen to help pet owners currently being advised to remain at home.

Ms Neave explained: “We’ve got lovely Voluntary Norfolk involved because one thing that we did want to do was to make sure that people feel very safe when they are handing their pet over, because they are such a big part of families and there are horrible stories about thefts and things like that.

“So we wanted all of our volunteers to register through Voluntary Norfolk so that there’s a nice, safe and secure system in place so that pet owners can feel very safe.”

The group has previously enjoyed success both as a community for owners and working with local RSPCA branches, with a Rescue-Rehab scheme run at Norwich Prison, which provides serving prisoners with a positive distraction and gives rescue dogs socialising time to help in the re-homing process.

“We did our first match on Friday for an elderly gentleman who has lung problems so has to self-isolate,” Ms Neave continued. “Not because he’s ill but just because he’s vulnerable, and the volunteer picks up the animal from the door and we ask the owners to have them on their lead ready.

“But it’s not just dog walking. There are obviously restrictions over social movement and perhaps an animal is ill and needs to go to the vet.”

She added: “The gentleman I spoke to was just lovely and so grateful that people were going to be supporting him and his words were that ‘she is my life’. This is a particular gentleman who doesn’t have a garden, as if you do have a garden it’s not quite so bad, because you can let them out.”

Anyone interested in volunteering or receiving help can email or join the Norwich Best for Pets group on Facebook.

- For regular updates on good deeds that people in our region are doing for others, join the Norfolk and Waveney Here to Help group on Facebook.

- Are you doing something to help others, or know someone who is? Email with details.

- Click here to subscribe to our daily coronavirus newsletter, with all the latest from where you live

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