My week

Zoe Hubbard, animal welfare officer, Mayhew Animal Home

Zoe Hubbard
Zoe Hubbard

Monday: This morning, I visit one of the shelters run by homelessness charity St Mungo's in south London. We often do such visits to offer support to people living in temporary accommodation with animals. Many of them are dog owners, so we offer health advice as well as fleaing and worming most of the dogs.

Over dinner in the evening, I chat with a friend who thinks vulnerably housed people shouldn't have dogs. But if it is best for the animal and the owner to stay together, there is simply no reason to fill up rescue centres with more dogs. The homeless people staying at St Mungo's generally care for their dogs well under difficult circumstances.

Tuesday: A long day setting traps for a feral cat colony living on a nearby industrial estate. I have to wait several hours for it to get dark enough for the cats to feel comfortable and explore the traps, which have food inside - but I've come prepared for the wait with a copy of Marie Claire. I have my fingers crossed that I won't see any more kitten litters tonight because the cattery is full of homeless feral kittens at the moment.

We catch five of the biggest males on the site, and I go home exhausted but relieved. They will be given a full health check by our vets and neutered before being re-released.

Wednesday: I spend the morning helping the vets in our low-cost vaccination clinic. Today we have booked several people in for our free bull breed neutering. Sometimes it can be an uphill struggle to get people to realise that more litters of puppies are just adding to the crisis that rescue centres are already facing.

On the tube home, I chat to a lady who notices the Mayhew logo on my T-shirt. It turns out she adopted two cats as kittens from us years ago.

Thursday: I go on a street patrol with local police officers as part of the work we do in Hammersmith and Fulham on responsible dog ownership. This is a great way to build relationships in the community.

We speak to several dog owners and provide free micro-chipping, which links dogs to their owners and makes them easier to find if they go astray. It is a simple procedure and we do it on the street while we chat to the owners.

Friday: People keep asking me why I look so happy today: it's because tomorrow I will be reuniting a dog with his owner, who was in a coma and has been in recovery for some time.

They haven't seen each other for more than seven months, and he's been looked after as part of our Pet Refuge programme by foster carers. The love this lady has for her dog is amazing and I feel very personally involved in this case because I head the Pet Refuge initiative. I really can't wait; this is one of the most amazing rewards of the job.

- The Mayhew Animal Home is an animal charity and rehoming centre in London

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