Shirley Chan
This is writing…

Promising youth

by Shirley Chan
(Rotorua Daily Post, SPCA insert)

Compassion is in the core of this very promising young student

Olivia Broughton is a senior at John Paul College (JPC), Rotorua – and she volunteers her time at the SPCA. Every Monday and Wednesday, during the week after school, from 3 – 5pm, you will find Olivia at the SPCA. During the school holidays, she helps out as much as she can.

Olivia started volunteering at the tender age of 12, doing menial tasks that many her age would balk at, in preference for a Nintendo, friends or the television. Not Olivia. Five years down the road, she is responsible for a lot more today. She cleans the cages still, but feeds and exercises the animals – yes, all the animals which range from dogs and cats to rabbits and birds.

What got her volunteering her time? No, not pushy parents. No, not peer pressure. It was the love that swelled in her heart one day, five years ago, when she visited the SPCA – love and compassion, empathy and pity for the animals no one wanted. She knew they were lovely and innocent, unwanted through no fault of their own. She felt she had to care for them until they found permanent happy homes to live to the end of their lives. Very mature for a pre-teenaged girl.

She finds it very rewarding to care for animals. She says it is amazing to see animals blossom with love and care, building up their trust in human kind again despite often horrendous treatment pre-SPCA rescue.

Olivia is far from an introverted nerd, stuck with animals, cleaning cages, shying away from humankind. No, Olivia loves sport and plays a lot of it. Coming from JPC, she is sure to have immaculate self-discipline but Olivia divulged her secret – “Time management”. Many far older than she still grapple with this slippery, elusive beast – and this 17 year old has had it down pat from the age of 12.

Olivia never tires of animals as she has two more at home. Rosie, her Chihuahua, from the SPCA and her Burmese cat do their own thing. Their only interaction is when the one-handful sized dog tries to eat the cat’s food. Rosie gets a stern warning from the Burmese, who is probably larger than the she.

In her final year at JPC, Olivia hopes to pursue a university degree. No prizes for guessing her preferred discipline. Veterinary School at Massey University in Palmerston North of course! However, Law at Victoria University in Wellington is still in the running. We hope she will become a successful veterinarian. The animals need her. We need her. Her devotion and commitment to animals will do their world and ours a whole lot of good. Good luck Olivia. You are a real treasure to have, helping animals. The hundreds you have cared for will thank you in many unspoken ways.