Karen gets her hands dirty for the best cause

Volunteer spotlight for National Volunteer Week

Green-thumbed volunteer Karen has been helping our Launceston Home grow in more ways than one.

Karen sells plants at the Ampol service station in Westbury, with all the money raised going directly to supporting the Launceston Home. She’s also been volunteering there since 2018, and has been a foster carer since 2020. She has fostered 30 pups, including a few litters.

“We sell potted plants, bulbs, seeds and the like,” Karen says. “When I say ‘we’, that includes my husband and other generous members of the community who often donate to the stall.

“I have always loved dogs,” she says. “We have two dogs in our family. Pheobe, an 11-month-old Staffy x, was adopted from the Launceston Home last August. Geordie is an English Staffy who is nine years old. We have fostered about 30 puppies and enjoyed every moment, despite the hard work.

Karen McKenzie Launceston volunteer
Karen at the Launceston Dogs' Home

“I always wanted to do something that involved dogs. Once I retired, I realised the time had come to try. I wasn’t sure if I would cope but felt I had to give volunteering at the Home a go.

“Many people say to me ‘I couldn’t do that as I would want to take all the dogs home with me’. My answer is: ‘So do I, but you can’t take them all home — but you can make a difference!’

“The staff were very welcoming and supportive as I learnt the ropes. I love spending time with the dogs and rejoice when they are adopted. I hope the time I spend with the dogs waiting for adoption helps them to cope with their time at the Home. A pat, cuddle and a kind word hopefully helps them and me.

“Volunteering at the Dogs’ Homes makes my heart sing. I get back far more than I give. It makes me feel good doing something that makes a difference.”

Launceston staff member Luci is happy to sing Karen’s praises.

“Karen has devoted years of dedication and passion to not only the dogs but staff as well, often bringing us and the dogs yummy treats,” she says. “Thanks to her focus and fundraising we have been able to buy enrichment items for the dogs and maintenance supplies to help keep things nice.

“Volunteering means, to Karen, being part of change as the Dogs’ Homes grow, helping make our Home a better place for the dogs by walking them, giving them some basic training, and just showing them love and kindness.

“Having volunteers means we can extend our care and compassion through the community. We love sharing our passion for the dogs, and watching our volunteers develop such deep, caring relationships with the pooches waiting for their furever homes.

“Being part of the Dogs’ Homes community can be very rewarding, especially seeing the dogs ride off with their new families. There is nothing more fulfilling than giving kindness and teaching them to love in return.”

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