Thank you for your interest in becoming a Rachie’s Ratirement Home volunteer! We are always keen to work with enthusiastic, compassionate people who would like to help give an animal a second chance at a safe and happy life.
The steps involved in becoming a volunteer:
- Read the following information about the volunteering with the rescue.
- Contact us via the webform at the bottom of this page, and a volunteer will contact you to have a chat, give you some more info, answer any questions, and take you through an application form.
- If all goes well, you'll be invited to come and meet us at the rescue for an interview.
- Attend a Volunteer Training session at Rachie’s Ratirement Home to learn the ropes if applicable.
- Once accepted as a Volunteer, you will be invited to commit to events, sessions or days that suit your volunteer interests and availability.
What kind of volunteer roles could I do?
- Rescue Maintenance – this is the standard and vital volunteering role. It involves attending the rescue on a regular basis to assist with cage cleaning, maintenance and care of the rats living at the rescue. This can be a lot of manual labour but is variable, and focuses heavily on things like changing substrate, washing cages, washing hammocks/hides and check food and water. Volunteers in this role may also help if desired with more physical tasks like sandblasting or pressure hosing cages for use or resale. You may help photograph, upload and update ads for second hand equipment sales, which help the rescue fund its work.
- Foster Care – taking home 2 to 4 rats from the rescue and providing the necessary care to them for a set period, usually 3-4 weeks. The foster rats come back to the rescue at the end of that period for re-assessment. Fostering may be for medication, trust training, or senior support. Please visit the "Fostering" page for more information.
- Transport Assistance – sometimes we have community members who need help but cannot get to the rescue. In this instance, we call out to our transport volunteers to collect the animals in need/donations and returning them to the rescue. Transport assistance may also be used to get rescue rats to and from vet appointments or to assist with events.
- Safe Housing – similar to the role of a transport volunteer, however these volunteers have the space and willingness for rats in need to be dropped to them (or collected) and kept at the safe-house until it is possible to get the animals to the rescue. We have a safe house network spanning across South East Queensland and into New South Wales, which has helped keep many rats and their humans safe in areas that transport volunteers can’t immediately attend.
- Research support – for the research and academically minded, you could assist the rescue from afar by taking a deep dive into a topic of rodent care, welfare or husbandry, and creating some researched, well evidenced content for our website and social media spaces! We aim not to be any kind of authority on rats, but to be a secure and reliable place to curate and quality check fact based information.
- Event Volunteers – Rachie’s Ratirement Home is involved in a number of events throughout the year including Queensland Rodent Fanciers Shows and animal expos, and we need volunteer help at these events! Roles include staffing tables and engaging with members of the public who are curious about what we do.
- Hammock Sewing Days – using donated material to create hammocks for sale creates a valuable income stream for the rescue. We sometimes host days where people of all levels of sewing experience are invited to come along and learn to sew hammocks for themselves and the rescue!
- Specialty roles – These are roles which are specific to a skillset, they vary in frequency of input and are very case-by-case, they may be a one off or recurring role.
You might be:
- A photographer visiting monthly to take shots for social media
- A lawyer putting your number down for assistance if needed
- An artist wanting to make assets for our fundraising material
- A specialist in a field or a role such as financial advisor or first aid trainer, wanting to educate our team and optimise or improve the rescue with your skillset
- The owner of a space, business or asset that doesn’t quite fit the role of a sponsor but you would like to apply to the benefit of the rescue
- Just about anything else you can imagine and propose!
- General Support – there is honestly a lot of general stuff that comes up last minute that we need to attend to, so general support is the recognition that random and unexpected opportunities to help out will come up and when they do, you have the opportunity to put your hand up to get involved!
What does the rescue and its volunteers do?
Awesome question! Rachie’s Ratirement Home is the only rat rescue in Queensland that is a not-for-profit organisation! We have been around since November 2017 supporting pet rats and their owners. A few good deeds by Rachie back in 2017 uncovered an incredible need for a much bigger operation. We accept rats surrendered, dumped or found, we get them healthy and happy and adopt them out to forever homes, or if that isn't possible we give them a home here. Sounds simple in theory, but it's a big job in practice.
Our rescue runs on infinite love, relentless dedication, a shoestring budget of donations and an army of volunteers who we absolutely adore. We would love to have a chat over a cup of tea and figure out what you like doing, what we need done and how, by our powers combined, we can best use your skillset to help the rescue!
I am passionate about the rescue, but I'm under 18. Can I still help out?
Unfortunately, due to legal and insurance regulations there are limited opportunities in the rescue for anyone under 18 years of age. If you're still eager to find ways to help out you could possibly try fundraising, fostering (with your parent or guardian as the responsible carer), or making some soft hammocks for the ratties to enjoy on-site! We're always happy to try and find ways passionate people can contribute to the rescue. Feel free to send us an email if you find there's another way you'd like to help out.
I am a person with disability or need workplace accomodations, is that possible?
We are an inclusive organisation led and run by people with disabilies! Disability is no barrier to being a part of our team at any level. Part of our interview process for all volunteers is to self-identify how your functional ability is impacted, so one of our team can work with you to arrange workplace accomodations.
Do I get to cuddle any rats?
Absolutely, as a volunteer the work you do for us in not eligible for financial compensation – but we will happily let you cuddle the residents! Cuddling and socialising with humans is important to the care and rehabilitation of many of our animals, we only request that volunteers resist the urge to spend the whole-time cuddling rats!
I work full time, is that a problem?
Many of our volunteers work full time! As long as you are willing to help where you can and you are reasonably consistent in the role you choose – then you are welcome. We have volunteer opportunities on the weekend for our Open Days, as well as event based volunteers, which may suit better than a regular weekly commitment. If your assistance can only be intermittent, perhaps there is a specialty role that might suit!
How frequently will I be asked, or able, to volunteer?
This is highly variable and heavily dependent on what availability you have and what role you perform. For example, transport jobs may be irregular and only a few a year in your area, but volunteering on site may be weekly. What we do ask is that when you do commitment to a day, event or program – you are consistent in your attendance so that we can undertake our planning and rostering. Consistency and communication are things we value highly!
I really want to help the rescue but I am not in a position to volunteer?
That is ok and we really appreciate your enthusiasm! Here are a few other ways you can support the rescue - if they interest you get in touch with the team at firstname.lastname@example.org:
- Financial Support is always welcome, needed and appreciated. If you would like to donate, please connect with us around sponsorship and donation options.
- Social Media Support – likes, shares and tags on the many and varied social media spaces helps us to spread the information, resources, knowledge, support and the cute rat stories that we want to make available for the support of the rat community.
- Recommending us as a place to be sponsored or supported by businesses and community groups that you think might like to support us.
- Donating, or recommending others donate unwanted/un-needed rat cages, equipment and supplies.
- Hosting a fundraiser in support of the rescue’s work.
If you'd like to volunteer with the rescue or supporting us in other ways, you can express your interest by filling out the form below, and one of our team will be in touch!