Volunteer spotlight: Debbie

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Debbie joined The Underdog Project as a volunteer as part of her gap year, where she was looking to get involved in a non-profit organisation. We sat her down to find out more about her passion for dogs and what she has gotten out of working with The Underdog Project thus far:

Why did you choose to give your time to The Underdog Project?

I am on a gap year and was looking to get involved in an organisation. I wanted a place that worked with young people, had some sort of educational programme and was making a tangible difference. The Underdog Project fitted these criteria, and I loved the notion of animal-assisted therapy. Teenagers build confidence, patience and empathy, as well as learn important life skills and how to interact with animals. The dogs are socialised, trained and have a higher chance of being adopted. In turn, this positively affects the Hout Bay community. It was a perfect fit for me! 

Is there a special moment (highlight) during your time at The Underdog Project that you would like to share?

I don’t think that I can single out one moment. I just love watching the teenagers train and bond with the dogs. They can be loud and silly with each other, but the training time brings out a very gentle side in them. It’s special to see them interact with their dogs, especially when they are able to teach a trick or two.

What’s your favourite breed of dog and why?

 I can’t choose! I think every breed has its perks. Our family only adopt rescue dogs as adopting mixed breeds is very rewarding. It’s also interesting to try guess what breeds the dog might be.

Something funny about me is…

One of my favourite parts of visiting the beach or the Sea Point promenade is to watch (and hopefully cuddle!) other people’s dogs. Most people seem really chuffed that their dogs are getting the attention.