Dedicated volunteer gardener keeps RSPCA shelter shipshape for rescued animals

With six years of volunteering under his garden tool belt, Neon Martin is one of our Lonsdale shelter’s star gardening professionals.

A dedicated tree grower and all-round nice guy, Neon initially became an RSPCA volunteer by accident.

“I knew one of the volunteers and offered to plant some trees for them – I just kept coming back after that and next thing I knew, six years had flown by!” He tells us.

With some serious dedication to keeping the grounds of our Lonsdale shelter neat, lush and tree-lined, Neon comes every week, rain, hail or shine, to ensure the gardens are maintained.

Volunteers truly are the lifeblood of RSPCA South Australia, and it’s only thanks to the dedication and passion of generous people like Neon that we’re able to help more than 10,000 abandoned, neglected, sick and surrendered animals in South Australia each year.

Neon’s big motivator? Giving the dogs and their carers a nice spot to explore and play.

“The best part of the job is the job! I really like meeting other volunteers and patting the dogs and finding out their names and stories,” he says.

Weeding, digging, planting , trimming and watering all in a days’ work

With a foster fail rescue dog of his own at home, a much-loved Blue Heeler called Lucy, Neon’s affinity to animals and his deep passion for tree-planting and gardening is the perfect marriage and has seen him become one of RSPCA Lonsdale’s greatest assets.

Although he makes it look easy, Neon’s got his work cut out for him with constant weeding, cutting and watering occupying a lot of his time at Lonsdale.

“It can be quite demanding in summer because even if it’s very hot, you still need to come in and water the plants – there is a lot of maintenance needed in keeping the place tidy”.

Neon’s hard work doesn’t stop there. This wonderful gardening guru does a lot of manual labour each week, including digging, planting, lifting large rocks and digging out dead trees.

The most surprising part of the job that Neon has discovered is the social aspect of volunteering with RSPCA.

“It’s all one, big family and it’s a great time being able to have a good chin-wag with my fellow volunteers,” he says.

My best memories of volunteering for RSPCA all include dogs’

Neon loves making friends of the fur kind too.

“My best memories all include dogs. Finding out when a dog you have grown fond of gets rehomed, or when a really sick or injured animals recovers and finds itself a home – they are some of my best memories,” he says.

With nothing but positive words to say about his time at RSPCA Lonsdale, Neon encourages anybody who might be considering a volunteering role to apply.

“Give it a try and see how you go. Don’t just do it once but give it a try two or three times and see how you click. You’ll get hooked on it quick!” he says.

We’d like to thank Neon for sparkling up the place with his dynamite personality and impressive gardening skills – you are the man!

Can you spare some time to help us save animals? It’s only with the support of kind-hearted volunteers that RSPCA South Australia can reach so many abandoned, neglected, sick and surrendered animals each year. Help us help them – apply to volunteer now.

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