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VOLUNTEER HUBWe are lucky to have a dedicated team of engaged volunteers, and for this we could not be more grateful. However, it hasn’t been the easiest couple of years, and many of our volunteers have found that sharing their lives with a companion animal has brought a little light to this otherwise challenging time. Veganism is a central part of most of our volunteers’ identities, and for some caring for animals is an integral element of this. In this issue I wanted to share their insights on the topic of companion animals. Kaya Gromocki, Volunteering and Engagement Officer Proofreading Volunteer, Jen, shares the story of her canine friends. “Our two dogs are the centre of our little family. They both have unique personalities and communicate in their own individual ways. As much as they need to be looked after and cared for, they also take care of me and my husband, and of each other. Whether we have good or bad days, they sit by our side, bring us a toy or share a bowl of fruit with us. The amount of kindness they show every day is, to me, what veganism is all about.”Research Volunteer Flo explains what her friendship with her tortoise means to her. “After adopting Schild from a neighbour, I got to know his personality through watching him explore, seek out human company and exhibit food preferences. Being up close with a reptile for the first time opened my mind to the complexity of non-human animals and the respect they deserve. I feel weird about having kept hamsters as a child so now, even if a little selfishly, I feel good about being able to provide Schild with the full range of a garden. Going vegan also made me feel closer to him as we now share the same love of fruits and veggies.”Digital Communications Volunteer Siân shares her home with three non-human animals. “My two rabbit companions have completely opened my mind to the emotional needs of smaller mammals. With that comes a lot of sadness because of the conditions they’re kept in and the way they’re treated and disposed of for human use. Caring for a rabbit, finding them a life partner, and creating a space where they are safe and happy makes all the chewed furniture worth it! “We also decided to adopt a retired racing greyhound. It’s wonderful to see an animal who was raised for entertainment and discarded settle into a blissful life. Since joining our family Marley now eats a vegan diet, but my proudest moment is the complete unlearning of his training to chase and catch a rabbit.”Web Volunteer Sara tells us how adopting a kitten changed her outlook on life. “I adopted a kitten, Chico, during the pandemic. I wasn’t expecting to feel so close to him. But spending day and night with him made me appreciate his soul and see his capability of understanding. I started to look at animals around me and see different, beautiful and funny souls in them. This made me realise how they could feel and understand in different ways, just as my beloved Chico does. The decision to be vegan became easy and obvious at that point.” If you would like to volunteer please check our website or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to join a team of like-minded volunteers.