Volunteering

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: 

  1. Read the following information about the volunteering with the rescue. 
  2. 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.
  3. If all goes well, you'll be invited to come and meet us at the rescue for an interview.
  4. Attend a Volunteer Training session at Rachie’s Ratirement Home to learn the ropes if applicable.
  5. 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. On-site Volunteer days are currently Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, with more assistance needed on Fridays. 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 Brisbane’s only QRF Registered Rodent Rescue, and the only rat rescue in Queensland that is (application pending) a not-for-profit organisation! We have been around since November 2017 and while we primarily support pet (fancy) rats; we have been known to provide care to wild rats and mice when needed. A few good deeds by Rachie back in 2017 uncovered an incredible need for a much bigger operation supporting rodents and their humans. We work with any rat that needs us and to date we have not had to turn away a domestic rat or mouse in need!

The thing about our rescue is that is runs on infinite love, relentless dedication, a shoestring budget of donations and an army of volunteers who we absolutely adore. Our volunteers are involved in so many ways including; foster care, transport, safe housing, rescue maintenance, ratty day spa, research support, event volunteers, Hammock Sewing Days and general support.

We are still finding our feet as a full scale not for profit rescue, so our favourite thing to do at the moment is 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!

Do I get a choice in what roles I do?

Yes, however each aspect involves set tasks that need to occur, some are easy and fun and some are washing hammocks and cleaning out cages. We expect that our volunteers will be willing and able (injuries/illness permitting) to undertake all elements of the role that they are helping with so we can all share the fun, and the hard work.

You say injuries and illness permitting, what does that mean – if I have some stuff going on that may impact my ability to help, how do I make that work?

There are quite a few of us who have injuries, illnesses and differing abilities that affect and inform the way we help at the rescue, so you are in good company! At the rescue, we absolutely encourage and expect that you will manage your self-care and wellbeing through accountability, responsibility and transparency. Depending on what you have going on, if you think that it is appropriate to the safety and wellbeing of yourself, our other volunteers on-site and our rats, please share what you need to and are comfortable sharing with a member of the Management Committee (Rachie, Chris or Ally) or our Volunteer Coordinator. What we need to know is ultimately what we need to do to best support you, and to keep everyone safe.

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.

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 ratirementhome@gmail.com:

  • 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!

Volunteer Expression of Interest Form

 

August 17, 2020