Natalie answers the call

Natalie Davey and her rescue dog Mollie. 176214

By Mandy Oakham

What do you get when you cross a zoologist with a communications specialist?
The answer is an award-winning manager of volunteers with the Cherished Pets program and full-time animal lover, Ocean Grove’s Natalie Davey.
Natalie is celebrating being named as the winner of Volunteering Geelong’s Award for Excellence in Volunteer Management.
Having moved to the Grove in 2015 with a background in zoology, animal behaviour and scientific communications Natalie was looking for a new opportunity which could somehow bring together her varied skill set.
“I just happened to pick up a brochure about the launch of the Cherished Pets program down at the Dunes and it mentioned a guest speaker who also just happened to be one of my old university lecturers,” Natalie said.
“And when I got down to the event and listened to what they wanted to do everything just clicked for me and I thought wow this is will be a terrific way to bring all my skills together.
“I have always been a people person and then this opportunity came along with the chance to be part of that special bond that forms between people and their pets.”
Cherished Pet Care is a volunteer organisation which can arrange in-home services to help manage and maintain the health of dearly loved pets if the owners become unable to provide that care.
After working as a volunteer for the program Natalie was soon approached to take on a part-time, paid position managing the volunteers.
There are around 70 registered carers with the program and some have been working with Natalie for more than two years.
“My job is such a privilege working with the volunteers and the people who they help and you all become like one big family,” Natalie said.
“We spend a lot of time making sure that we carefully match our volunteers with the people they will be helping, and of course, the animals.
“There has to be a compatibility in this special relationship and I work many more hours unpaid in this position because I just love the work and the interactions with people and animals.”
Approaching Christmas the Cherished Pet Care program is always looking for donations to ensure that they can help people at a time which can be very stressful, and Natalie would love to hear from anyone who feels able to help out, even with some respite care for animals in emergency situations.
Anyone interested in becoming involved should go the Cherished Pet Care website at