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get to know: K’S PATH volunteer Quintin de Villiers

February 15, 2012

 It is our responsibility as a society to help keep our environment clean. The change I would like to see, which I know K’S PATH is pursuing, would be to educate our society on how to treat and interact with animals.

Quintin de Villiers heads out every weekend to volunteer at K’S PATH’s beach clean-ups and to help at the shelter. In the few months since he began volunteering, his dedication has seen him lead university students at beach clean-ups and handle K’S PATH’s dogs for adoption at our recently held ‘Bark in the Park’. All this, despite his busy weekday schedule with an auditing and risk consulting company. Thank you Quintin for all that you do and welcome aboard once again! Our chat with Quintin…

Since when have you been volunteering with K’S PATH?

“I began volunteering in December 2011.”

How did you hear about K’S PATH and why did you decide to sign up as a volunteer?

“I have always heard about the organization over the years. I decided to volunteer because I have always loved animals and I wanted to actually do something to combat animal cruelty.”

How many hours a week do you devote to volunteer work?

“I average between 7 to 8 hours a week.”

What work do you volunteer with? 

“For the beach clean ups it’s pretty simple, I pick up trash and try to dislodge and remove any car tires that are submerged below the sand (quite a lot of fun!). At the K’S PATH shelter the work ranges from bathing puppies, socializing with animals, walking dogs, assisting the vet, cleaning up, building beds and generally helping in other areas.”

What do you most like working on as a K’S PATH volunteer?

“Probably socializing with dogs since I have always had a particular affection for them but all the work is usually very enjoyable.”

What do you most like about being a K’S PATH volunteer?

“Getting to help animals in need and meeting some great people along the way.”

What keeps you coming back week after week to clean up beaches? 

“Personally, I think it is our responsibility as a society to help keep our environment clean. It’s always very sad to see the consequences of what pollution does to the environment. If I can at the very least help spread some awareness, through organizations like K’S PATH, about the amount of pollution our society is causing and all of its consequences, ranging from the tragic to the not-so-tragic, I would hope that our society becomes more aware and eventually more passionate about keeping our environment clean.”

What do you hope for a better future for animals and habitats?

“An end to the mistreatment/abuse of animals. In a Utopian world, humans and animals would live together harmoniously and have mutual respect for each other. Unfortunately, this is likely to never be the case. All one has to do to witness how badly animals are treated is to watch ‘Animal Cops’, visit the Friday Market or observe the interactions of an ignorant animal owner with their animal(s). The change I would like to see, which I know K’S PATH is pursuing, would be to educate our society on how to treat and interact with animals.”

What is your advice for those who want to volunteer with K’S PATH?

“Visit the K’S PATH shelter during an orientation day and understand the type of work it does. When you see how happy the animals are, especially after hearing some of their stories about how they came to the shelter, you’ll likely be very inspired by all the amazing work K’S PATH is conducting.”

An anecdote from your experience as a volunteer with K’S PATH…

“On one particular occasion at the shelter, I had been asked if I would like to socialize with dogs that had recently arrived at the shelter in order to further familiarize them in socializing with humans. In addition, I had specifically been asked to not to enter into one kennel that contained an aggressive dog that had been abused in the past. However, I unintentionally misheard the specific request to not enter into that kennel containing the aggressive dog and subsequently entered that kennel, after having socialized with some of the other new shelter arrivals. Please note though, for all those reading, the kennel was clearly marked “Aggressive dog, approach carefully” in big red letters on the front of the kennel. As I entered the kennel with the aggressive dog, I could tell he was nervous and did initially not like my presence there; he was barking loudly, pacing, and showing other aggressive signs. Eventually, after persisting with soft calls, some dog snacks and convincing him that I was not going to mistreat him, he slowly approached me and began to bond with me. He started by sniffing me, extending his paws, jumping on his hind legs to lick me and eventually rolling on his back for me to scratch his stomach and play with him. It is magical bonding moments like those, when an animal, particularly one that has been abused in the past, begins to trust and open up to you that one can really see the change that can be done in an abused animal’s life.”

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