Life post-retirement can leave you feeling a little lost and unsure of what to do with your extra spare time. Many people might decide to take on a new hobby or tackle a new adventure. Others choose volunteering, so they can do something with a purpose.
At Guide Dogs, we have seen that many police officers have decided to volunteer for our cause since retirement. After serving the public for many years, they chose to continue their support for the community in a different way, through volunteering. And since joining the Guide Dogs family, they have also found that volunteering has been a source of support for them too.
We spoke to a selection of our retired police officer volunteers to find out why they chose Guide Dogs and what volunteering has brought to their life.
Garry served 32 years in the police, and it has been 14 years since he has retired. Garry shares how volunteering has brought him a little bundle of joy.
“Since retirement, I joined Guide Dogs as a Puppy Raiser. It is such a rewarding role. We were only meant to have a puppy for two weeks as a Puppy Fosterer, but we became so attached and decided to do the role permanently.
The first time Duke arrived he was a bundle of joy. I have loved getting to see the progress he has made and him transition to such a lovely dog. He does something every day that makes you happy. He is always getting ‘zoomies’ or has a smile on his face. Then other days he is like an old man sitting in a chair watching the sea – completely chilled. He also acts like a Duke, as he loves a pamper and getting his nails filed.
On why he gives his time to raise puppies like Duke to be future life-changers, Garry said: “You do it because you love it, and it provides complete satisfaction.”
Brian served 27 years in the police before moving to Crete. When he moved back to Kent sometime later, he ended up getting involved with Guide Dogs by becoming a Puppy Raiser. Brian shared how this rewarding role fit right into his life.
“We are on puppy number eight right now. The role suits us down to the ground, we can still go on holidays or do whatever we want to do during the week. People don’t realise there is no expense that comes with the role, and it doesn’t inhibit your lifestyle at all.
The most rewarding part of the role is getting to see a dog working. You get to see how life changes for the person with sight loss, they get to have their independence again. Knowing we are part of that journey of helping to make that happen, is so rewarding.” Dave joined the police in 1966 and retired in 1997. Dave’s niece was a Puppy Raiser so he decided to support Guide Dogs by volunteering as a Collection Box Coordinator and Fundraiser after hearing about the shortage of volunteers.
“When you have been in the police, especially for 30 years, you become part of a community, so you miss that when you retire. Through joining Guide Dogs, you become part of a community [again] and you get to find different communities that you might not have through the police.
I have always enjoyed working with the public as well, so it is a great role for me. Whenever you go to empty a collection box, the people are always very welcoming and are always up for a chat.”
Ian joined the police when he was 20 years old, retiring after 30 years in the police. Ian shared why he got involved with Guide Dogs.
“Guide Dogs was one of the first charities I volunteered for, I used to help out by putting gazebos up for different volunteering events. I chose to volunteer because I didn’t need the money anymore and Guide Dogs was a cause that appealed to me, so I decided to spend my time differently to help a cause.”
To find out how you can also join the Guide Dogs family, visit guidedogs.org.uk/volunteering