Volunteer Voices is a new Q&A series we’re introducing to feature some of the dedicated people behind Nutmeg Animal Welfare. In this debut post, we hear from Seattle native Elisabeth Bailly, who began volunteering as a researcher for Nutmeg in spring 2016.
Despite being on the opposite side of the country from where Nutmeg is headquartered, Elisabeth has demonstrated a tremendous work ethic and responsiveness, doing a lot of the time-consuming research leg work for a number of Nutmeg projects.
While remaining a volunteer, Elisabeth will be elevated this month to the additional role of board member when Nutmeg holds its 2017 annual meeting.
When/how did you discover your love of animals?
Elisabeth Bailly: A love for animals is something that I’ve always had. Our family always had cats as pets when I was growing up, but I was always more fond of dogs, no matter how cool cats are. Although my parents never wanted a dog, I would always find a way to play with every extended family’s dog every time we would visit or dog sit whenever someone would need it. We also had a number of smaller pets like hamsters, a rat, and a rabbit at one point. Animals are so loving and I’m always so excited to see new ones, to learn more about them, or to just play with any of them I see.
What inspired you to join Nutmeg as a volunteer?
EB: Before I found Nutmeg, I had joined in a Twitter chat about travel and wildlife, connections just happened to push me towards looking into it more. I’ve always loved volunteering and helping out an animal welfare organization is right in line with my passions and values. The more I read about Nutmeg, I thought I could at least reach out and help in any way that I could.
What was your experience with animal welfare before joining Nutmeg?
EB: While our family has always adopted animals from rescues, my experience with them didn’t start until just a couple years ago when I started volunteering at a local cat rescue (where we had adopted from). Currently, I still volunteer there where I go in once a week to be an adoption counselor and help people pick out cats that suit their lifestyles.
You recently embarked on an extended trip to Nepal to help needy animals there. How did that trip come about?
EB: Working in a corporate environment started getting exhausting and I decided I needed a change to find something I really loved doing. For me, travel was always something amazing and it just happened to coincide with thoughts I had about traveling to volunteer. So after a few weeks of research I happened to find an opportunity to plan my own volunteering trip and help out at a great animal treatment center in Nepal, the KAT Centre. Finding this opportunity pushed me to put my passions first instead of just settling for something that was comfortable.
Describe your experiences with animals in Nepal and what you learned from them.
EB: At the Kathmandu Animal Treatment Centre, I was able to do a lot more than I had with dogs previously. At the center, it was much more about treating and stabilizing dogs in injury, disease, or needing to be spayed/neutered. I gave a lot of medications, played with and helped to treat puppies. I had a great time going around the city and picking up dogs, not matter how difficult it could be at times. The treatments were minimal because of the facilities they have in the country and the depth of diseases that come through which can be hard to treat. A lot of the time being there was difficult because it’s always busy and there’s a lot you can’t do to save dogs that are coming in. I learned so much about the differences in treatment processes between countries and how much they could do if they just had the equipment and support.
What do you see yourself doing in the future to continue helping animals around the world?
EB: While ‘voluntourism’ is getting a bad rap nowadays, it’s something I see myself doing in the future, of course with doing tons of major research beforehand. Traveling and volunteering with animals is amazing and, depending on the circumstances and situation, can be very beneficial to the community you help in. Also, I will always be helping in my own community when I’m home and will try to find places to support while I’m away.
Next up, I’m off to be an au pair near Sydney, Australia. I’m so excited to be able to stay there for a year, explore, and be there with an awesome family. I’ve also been looking into volunteering at a local dog shelter while I’m there or at a number of other wildlife rescues. Volunteering is always a big priority and I’m happy to have some places to choose from while I live there.