Jocelyn is Lort Smith’s longest serving volunteer. She started 25 years ago at age sixty. This means, like Lort Smith, she will be celebrating her 85th birthday this year – just incredible!
Prior to starting at Lort Smith, Jocelyn worked at the Royal Melbourne Hospital for 18 years as the nurse in charge of the CT/MRI unit. She occasionally had animals come in for a scan from the Melbourne Zoo because their machines were too small!
Jocelyn has always loved dogs and this is what inspired her to volunteer. It certainly isn’t for the cats – she’s ‘deathly allergic!’
“I’ve always said to my daughter, ‘when I retire, I’ll be doing what I can to help dogs.’ Animals never tell you that you’re horrible or smelly, they love you unconditionally,” shares Jocelyn.
“When I was younger, I used to pick up strays and mum would get upset because we already had three dogs! So I made an agreement with the local butcher to clean up the shop at the end of the day in exchange for taking home bones for the dogs.”
In 1965 Jocelyn brought her first stray dog home. It was covered in fleas so she took it to Lort Smith to have it looked at.
“I would have struggled to pay the vet bill, and wouldn’t have been able to if not for Lort Smith and the way we operate,” recalls Jocelyn.
The contribution Jocelyn has made to Lort Smith is immeasurable. Her favourite role however was running the shop (no longer exists).
“I made/crafted things that I could sell. From Christmas bags to bone and fish shaped soft toys for animals. I made blankets, scarves with paw prints, anything that could support the hospital and the animals. I recall making hundreds of dollars in the first year.”
“Back in the early days there was a roadside stall where we’d sell items to support the hospital. I crafted little sausage dogs with ears that button on and off that were really popular with kids. I ended up getting requests from friends at work, friends of friends, everyone! But they would have to pay – they were for a good cause and I didn’t want people to take advantage,” points out Jocelyn.
Last year, during the bushfires, Jocelyn made wildlife pouches for koalas, wombats and joeys.
The biggest change Jocelyn has witnessed since volunteering at Lort Smith is the “mod-con stuff”.
“Everything has become much more modern in terms of technology and I imagine this will only continue as Lort Smith gets bigger,” shares Jocelyn.
We often hear our volunteers talk about the friendships they’ve made during their time at Lort Smith. Jocelyn is no exception.
“I’ve made some amazing friends over the years. The friendships are what keep me going, and they are only ever a phone call away,” says Jocelyn.
Jocelyn loves volunteering for Lort Smith and has no intention of stopping anytime soon!
“I am not ready to retire! As long as I’m able I want to keep going – I’m not dead yet! I want to see all the new things happening. Besides, Lort Smith keeps me sane. We all need to be needed – and I need Lort Smith as much as they need volunteers,” says Jocelyn.
“My daughter doesn’t have to worry about me having nothing to do. When people moan about being bored, I ask if they’ve thought about doing something for someone else!”
We are sure you’ll agree, Jocelyn is an incredible woman and Lort Smith is lucky to have her!