Volunteer Ireland
Connecting Communities Through Volunteering

Environmental & Animal Care Shortlisted Nominees 2021


We are so proud to announce this year’s shortlisted nominees in the Environmental & Animal Care Category. This year we are celebrating three outstanding volunteers in each category.

Read each of their inspiring stories below.


Susan Hewitt, MADRA (Mutts Anonymous Dog Rescue and Adoption), Co. Galway

 

 

Susan Hewitt volunteers as a specialist fosterer with MADRA (Mutts Anonymous Dog Rescue and Adoption) in Co. Galway. Susan takes in litters of puppies and dogs with behavioral challenges as well as many other additional needs. She runs a private boarding kennel, yet chooses to donate her facilities and her time to the dogs who need her most.  

The dogs that Susan takes in are often extremely shy or even shut down when they arrive to MADRA, showing signs of fear and a desire to avoid human interaction. Susan welcomes these dogs and helps them find trust in people again. This voluntary role often involves round the clock care, lots of cleaning or just sitting quietly with a dog whose world has fallen apart, and Susan takes on the role with care and compassion.  

Susan has fostered 33 dogs in the past 18 months. These included five elderly dogs whose owners has passed away and would likely not have responded well to a busy kennel. She has also cared for a total of five Mums with their 23 pups at various times, with some of the pregnant dogs coming directly from neglectful conditions. She has had a remarkable impact on these dogs and pups, who didn’t have to spend a critical part of their lives in a busy rescue kennels.  

Her expertise and understanding of the dog’s needs ensures that MADRA can continue to care for as many dogs as possible, knowing that their volunteers are committed and dedicated to their wellbeing.  


Michael O’Halloran, Waterloo Renewal Group, Co. Cork

 

 

Michael O’Halloran is a volunteer with the Waterloo Renewal Group, Co. Cork. The group was set up to bring life back to an overgrown area in the locality, and Michael has been instrumental in the success of the project. As old pathways are restored, bird boxes welcome new residents and litter problems are resolved, Michael’s enthusiasm for the project never falters. He volunteers over 25 hours a week, checking the weather forecast regularly to make a plan for the days ahead. Micheal encourages people to volunteer and reminds them that their work is ‘treasured, not measured.’ His commitment to the Waterloo Renewal Group has been intrinsic to the increased engagement wit the area, as families and tourists alike make use of the amenity which has now received multiple awards. 

Michael played a key role in fundraising for the restoration of a bell tower which had lay on the ground for decades, and now rings out through Waterloo once more. Just as the chiming of the bell will ensure enjoyment of this beautiful area for generations to come, so too will Michael’s dedication and hard work.  

 


Sheena Twist, Burren Animal Rescue, Co. Clare 

 

Sheena Twist founded Burren Animal Rescue in 2004 and has given her time voluntarily to the organisation ever since. Sheena spends her time rescuing injured animals, removing them from abusive circumstances and campaigning for animal rights. 

She personally tends to the animals that call Burren Animal Rescue their home and can most often be found feeding, caring and building relationships with animals. Sheena supports them in good and bad times, whether providing care in times of sickness or seeing rehabilitated animals off to their adoptive home, she is there for every step of the journey.  

Her dedication to her volunteer role with Burren Animal Rescue has seen her lead many successful fundraisers while also ensuring the organisation meets Good Governance standards in its administrative function. She is continuously seeking new ways to ensure the ongoing success of Burren Animal Rescue