Our doors are closed again, but animal care is still essential. The Animal Ambulance in Amsterdam continues to operate 24/7 during the pandemic. With injured employees and adding a Weesp to the work area, it sometimes takes a lot of improvisation to get the rolls done, but this has been successful so far. Sandra Osterberg talks about working as an animal rescue during this special time.
Lisbeth van Schijndel
sAndra has been working in the animal ambulance for thirty years. It has a comprehensive function: it is a driver, an animal rescuer, works in the control room, provides prevention. She sometimes works for a day in an office at Watergraafsmeer, where there is always something to do. She works day and night shifts and also on weekends.
Corona virus continues to spread. Then there is the highly contagious bird flu and food poisoning. The staffing shortage is only getting worse due to all the sick reports, and gasoline is getting much more expensive. Many people have adopted a puppy impulsively due to sitting at home and a lack of social contact.
What do all the developments of the Corona pandemic mean for animal rescue?
It has definitely gotten busier since the Corona outbreak. During our last year 5,000 extra phone calls and 1,000 extra flights. Many people recklessly adopted a pet, which they later regretted. They go back to work and don’t know what to do with their puppy. Shelters are full of them’
Bird flu has a huge impact
“Bird flu also has a big impact, and we have to deal with it with more caution. Bird flu is mainly observed in geese, although we have recently had a pigeon and two infected ducks. Symptoms include trembling and trembling in the head, inability to stand or turn in circles, which Also known as head swelling or nasal discharge We have to wear special protective suits The four vets we work with put the affected animals to sleep in the ambulance The car must then be completely and carefully decontaminated before it can be taken on the next trip We have two ambulances Standardly, but the cleaning process is time consuming and means longer wait times. Usually that’s fine, winter is a quiet time, but it’s very crowded now. More people have adopted pets, which means more phone calls.”
‘People in need of money make it so high in many cases’
We also see more neglect of animals. For example, if we go on a home visit to an animal, we see that more animals need help. People in need of money often leave it too much. We will then fill out a sponsorship form. Our team manager will then contact someone from the Animal Police, who will start the work. More and more Amsterdammers are experiencing financial hardship as a result of not being able to properly care for their pets. This sad. We offer free shredding for cats, dogs, rabbits and ferrets. You can make an appointment on Monday, Wednesday or Friday via the website.
Animal ambulance offers more choices
For example, for residents of Amsterdam, Demen and Wiesbe with a city pass, there is an ADAM scheme. More and more people with lower incomes apply for a voucher each year and thus receive a discount on, for example, the costs of veterinary costs. Do you not qualify for this or have you ever used it once, but do you still need more financial help? After that, you may be able to lodge an appeal with the Animal Protection Authority Amsterdam emergency fund or knock on the door of the Pet Care Promotion Foundation.
We ourselves note that fuel prices are rising dramatically, but fortunately food costs are not so bad. We only provide transportation and first reception and do not resort to ourselves. This saves a lot. Fortunately, we often receive donations from pet stores.
perforated cheese net
Many colleagues are now sick, in quarantine, or do not dare to come to work. In principle, we always have a driver and co-driver in the ambulance. In the first shutdown, we sometimes traveled alone, but that’s impossible. Suppose you have to pick up a large animal with a stretcher and the owner cannot help you. You can not do that
Many calls for sick leave come at the last minute, but luckily appointment planners can call for help quickly. Usually it is possible to find someone so that the care always continues. It stresses us out. Unfortunately, we cannot take new colleagues in the ambulance at this time. Training is now primarily offered via Zoom. For example, a first aid course for a vet.
In addition to Amsterdam, Dierenambulance Amsterdam is already working on Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, Diemen, Driemond, Duivendrecht, Nordic countryside and Schiphol. Weesp has also been added since January 1. The work of Dierenambulance Gooi- en Vechtstreek has been added. This is a large area and houses many animals, including exceptional species.
“It’s a lot of extra work, yeah. We get calls from all over the country and we seem to be on top of Google. Fortunately many other cities also have animal ambulances that we can refer to. We don’t come to Schiphol very often. I once caught an African snail A giant in there. I thought this was special. A few years ago we also received a report of one of the coats in the North, which was initially mistaken for a raccoon. Someone may have kept a cat as a pet, which is illegal.
If I am interested in working in an animal ambulance, is it possible?
We are always looking for new colleagues. Centrals are especially needed, which is what we are currently looking for. People interested in working in our control room can find more information on the website. It explains exactly what the business entails and what the requirements are. We ask that you work at least twenty hours a month. You don’t have to be available for the whole day, part of the day is nice too.
If you want to learn more about who works in the animal ambulance, what they do and what they stand for, view the digital lecture and tour. On this page you can read some common tips about winter. Of course you can also support the Amsterdam Animal Ambulance, which works mainly on volunteers. Click here to see the possibilities.
Due to Corona, monthly guided tours of the building on Voorlandpad have unfortunately been canceled until further notice, but various videos can be viewed on Dierenambulance Amsterdam’s Youtube channel.