Hello to everyone reading this, my name is Charlotte Billington and I’m an Animal Welfare Officer for the RSPCA Mid Norfolk & North Suffolk Branch.
My working hours are officially 9-5, but it’s very rare that any of us stick to that. If an animal needs us, we will be there no questions asked, no matter what time of day it is. No two days are the same in my role; some are admin days at home replying to emails, making adoption packs or making phone calls and other days are constant vet runs back and forth, helping the furries or furless feel better and get back on their feet. Some days I drive round Norfolk & Suffolk dropping animals off to their new homes; this is the new normal now, being an animal drop off lady! Other days are a mixture of everything and anything in-between.
I am also a fosterer for the Branch, I have looked after a couple of rabbits when needed, but I am predominately a cat/kitten fosterer. I have a soft spot for fostering kittens, especially as my current cat Shadow is more accepting of them in comparison to adults. She gets jealous if I share my bedroom with any cat other than her because I am her mumma and have been since she came to me as a feral foster when she was around 7 weeks old. I also love looking after bottle fed kittens (I know I’m a crazy person). I enjoy doing feeds every 2-3 hours day and night, during and also out of my working hours, having snuggles and watching them grow in to happy, confident, cuddly and gorgeous kittens; it’s so rewarding knowing I can help them, giving them the best shot at life as without it, they wouldn’t have stood a chance without a mother.
This is Shadow looking unimpressed whilst I tell her there will be more kittens moving in soon!
Like any job, I have good days and bad days. Some days there is adoption after adoption and so many happy endings and other days it’s the end of the road for an unwell or injured animal, including bottle feds that aren’t able to stay in this world, no matter how hard you try. But the fact that you’ve tried to help that animal, given it comfort at the end or start of its life makes the stab in your heart that little bit less. You think about how they felt your presence by their side, the warmth of your touch and the love that you have for them and because of this, they’re not scared to cross their rainbow bridge when the time comes. They accept they no longer need to be in pain and its okay to let go.
I wouldn’t change my job for the world. I call it a job, but to me it’s more than that, it’s a lifestyle choice, a commitment and a way of giving a little back to the animals in this world that need our help every day. I would recommend to anyone, to open your heart to animals any day of the week, I think you’ll learn a lot more than you would expect from their kind souls, loving hearts and adorable faces.