Many of us think about trading in our jobs for our dream career but few have the courage to actually go ahead and do it but that’s just what Nikki Roberts, 23, did when she swapped hair styling for helping dogs find a home.
For seven years, Nikki transformed the hair of hundreds of salon clients but has now restyled her career, seizing the opportunity to follow her dream of working with dogs as a canine carer at Dogs Trust Harefield. Whilst new to the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, Nikki already has her next step at Dogs Trust mapped out and hopes to be able to focus on the training and behavioural support needed by the dogs that pass through the charity’s west London rehoming centre.
Nikki’s role is only made possible due to the ongoing support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery who have raised over £9.5 million for Dogs Trust since 2014.
Despite being the envy of a lot of people who covet her role at Dogs Trust, her job certainly isn’t as easy as it looks. Nikki says:
“Most of my friends and family think I spend my day playing with dogs and puppies. A typical working day for me involves feeding dogs, cleaning their kennels, as well as walking and training any new residents who come into our care.”
Nikki is just one member of Dogs Trust staff who have been funded by players of People’s Postcode Lottery and who provide the TLC these dogs need whilst they await their forever families. From canine carers to vet nurses and hydrotherapists to training and behaviour advisors, People’s Postcode Lottery support ensures that the very best staff are on hand to care for dogs of all shapes, sizes and ages during the rehoming process.
Nikki believes a Dogs Trust resident picks its new owner just as much as the owner chooses them, but the circumstances also have to be right. Before adopting a dog, families need to answer a questionnaire about their living situation and agree to a home visit to ensure the property is secure enough for the family’s new pet.
“Each dog has a unique personality and requires different things from their new home. By getting families to answer questions like: the number and age of children or family members in the home; whether they have other pets; how secure their garden is, as well as how much experience they have as dog owners; we can use this information to find them a suitable match.
“It is important that anyone hoping to adopt from us understands that a dog is for life. Getting a family pet is a big responsibility and should be given a lot of thought to whether or not they have the time and patience to care for a dog.”
When Nikki isn’t helping rescue dogs get forever home ready, she is at home looking after her own pets. When asked about her ideal pet she says:
“I already have my ideal dog – my lovely Jack Russell Terrier Dexter. Sadly, we recently lost our Labrador Raine who had been by my side for seven years. She was my best friend and we’re gutted to have had to say goodbye, but our close bond is what inspires me in this job. I love playing a role in helping families find their own Raine and to create that lifelong bond. Dog ownership is one of the most rewarding things in life. My job is also helping me understand dogs so much more and I can’t wait to keep learning and help others to do so too.”
Dogs Trust is working towards the day when all dogs can enjoy a happy life, free from the threat of unnecessary destruction. Dogs Trust is the UK’s largest dog welfare charity and cares for more than 15,000 dogs each year through its network of 20 rehoming centres across the UK and one in Dublin.