To celebrate International Happiness Day (20th March 2023), here’s five ways that volunteering at Guide Dogs can spread happiness for yourself and others.
1. Seeing our loveable dogs
Did you know that being around dogs can lift your mood? In fact, 65% of dog owners told us that having a dog improves their mental health. When you volunteer for Guide Dogs, there are plenty of opportunities to be around our future life-changers. From our Puppy Raiser roles who provide a loving home to a puppy to our Dog Wellbeing Volunteers who provide care for our training dogs on site. Even as a Fundraiser, you will get to meet our dogs at different points of their journey, as they make a regular appearance at fundraising events.
Our first puppy was called Lewis. He was great company and brought me a lot of enjoyment.
Dawn, Puppy Raiser.
2. New friendships
At Guide Dogs, we’re a community of individuals with a common goal; helping people with sight loss to live the life they choose. When you volunteer, you have the opportunity to meet a variety of people from all walks of life. This can help to create new friendships and allows you to connect with people you may have never met otherwise. Making new friends can be a mood booster, especially when you have more people to talk to and who are there to support you.
It’s a great friend-builder. I have made so many friends through Guide Dogs over the years.
Iris, Puppy Raiser
3. Having fun
Volunteering is the act of dedicating your spare time to giving back, but it can also be fun. At Guide Dogs, we have various roles and activities to suit every interest. From participating in exciting events like jazz nights with our fundraising groups to starting a new hobby like pottery in a My Sighted Guide partnership. There is a range of different fun activities that our volunteers get up to within their roles. Making sure you are having fun – no matter the activity - is a great way of ensuring a smile is radiating from your face.
It’s really varied. One week I will be organising a group meeting, the next week I will be contacting the local mayor. You get to be a part of something, meet new people and have fun.
Shirley – Fundraising Group Coordinator
4. Getting outdoors more
Being out in the fresh air and spending time in nature is a well-known answer for increasing feelings of happiness. A lot of volunteer roles with Guide Dogs involves getting outside and being in green spaces. From gentle strolls along the beach as a My Sighted Guide to free running a guide dog in the park as a Fosterer. Volunteering can help you to get outside and out of the house more.
We always feel better after a walk and a coffee of course. Just being out and about, walking and chatting, and knowing what a difference it has made to someone’s day.
Debbie, My Sighted Guide
5. Being part of something amazing
Every volunteer at Guide Dogs contributes to helping people living with sight loss to live actively, independently, and well. You can even hear first-hand from our service users; how much volunteers and our services have made a difference to their lives. And being involved in something with purpose (and having an impact) can dramatically improve one’s mood. Just know that you will truly be part of something amazing.
Guide Dogs have given so much to my Dad, I just wanted to give something back.
If you want to put a smile on your face (and give a little happiness to others), please visit our volunteering opportunities.