Wigen Nazarov, Puppy Raiser with Guide Dogs 

Wigen is currently a Puppy Raiser with the Guide Dogs. He started volunteering after retiring to keep in touch with others, continue to have a routine and to try something completely different. The volunteering has been rewarding and good for his mental and physical healthIt has helped him to maintain social contact with others as so many people stop to talk to him when he is out and about 

Wigen and Barker, the Guide Dog

Reasons to volunteer

He was originally considering having his own dog but decided that due to his age he would prefer to volunteer as a puppy raiser for Guide Dogs. He was looking to keep in touch with others and develop a social network. Through his volunteering role, he has had regular social contact with others through arranged meet ups and by attending activities to do with his role.

The enjoyment of volunteering

Volunteering has put him out of his comfort zone, creating challenges and keeping him mentally active. The people that he has met along the way have been lovely. After losing the routine of working due to retiring, volunteering has enabled him to develop new routines, learn new things, develop new interests and has been beneficial in maintaining his wellbeing.

Challenges overcame

Initially, he was worried about whether he would fail in the puppy raising but the support he received from Guide Dogs was excellent and the puppy advisors were available when he needed them. 

He thought the commitment of 24 hours a day, 7 days a week was quite daunting, but he get breaks when he needs them.  He can also choose to do a different role if he thinks that the commitment is too much. 

Advice for others thinking about volunteering

If you are thinking about volunteering, Wigen suggests speaking to somebody about all the different opportunities that are out there in the community as there will be something that will appeal to you. From Wigens experience, volunteering doesn’t have to be full time, and it can be at whatever level you feel you are able to do. He got back ten-fold what he put in. He urges that you give it a try and find what makes you happy!

If you’d like to volunteer with Guide Dogs or find out more information, you can visit their website here or email VolunteerScotNI@guidedogs.org.uk.

If you live in Angus and are interested in volunteering, get in touch with Voluntary Action Angus and we can help find the volunteering opportunity that is right for you. Email info@voluntaryactionangus.org.uk or call 01307 466113.