Close or not, the animal ambulance continues to drive

We are back in lockdown, but animal care is still essential. The Animal Ambulance in Amsterdam continues to operate 24/7 during the pandemic. With injured employees and adding 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 at Dierenambulance in this special time.

Liesbeth van Schijndel

sAndra has been in animal rescue 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 the 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 impulsively adopt a puppy 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 coronavirus outbreak. During our last year 5,000 extra phone calls and 1,000 extra rides. 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 big impact

“Bird flu also has a huge impact, and we have to treat it with extra caution. Bird flu is mainly observed in geese, although we have recently had a pigeon and two infected ducks. Symptoms are trembling and shaking of the head, inability to stand or turn in circles, also called Swollen head or nasal discharge We must 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 on the road regularly Standard, but the cleaning process is time consuming and means longer waiting times.Usually this is fine, winter is a quiet time, but it is very crowded now.More people have adopted pets, which means a lot of 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 high. 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 facing 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 the Pet Care Promotion Foundation.

We’ve noticed that fuel prices are skyrocketing, but fortunately food costs aren’t too 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.

A peacock has escaped from the petting zoo. Animal Ambulance provides assistance.

In addition to Amsterdam, Dierenambulance Amsterdam already operates to 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 wide area and includes 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 at the 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 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.

The Dierenambulance Amsterdam building in Middenweg.

If you are interested in working in an animal ambulance, is it possible?

We are always looking for new colleagues. Centrals in particular are badly 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 all 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 Dierenambulance Amsterdam, which mainly works on volunteers. Click here to see the possibilities.

Monthly guided tours of the building on Voorlandpad have unfortunately been canceled until further notice due to Corona, but various videos can be viewed on Dierenambulance Amsterdam’s Youtube channel.

Dierenambulance Amsterdam has been available since 1978 to provide assistance to (medical) animals in need 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. Each year they receive about 40,000 phone calls and drive 12,000 rides. About 150 volunteers and 13 paid employees work there.

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