When PDSA approached me to work with them, I knew that becoming an Ambassador would be the perfect role for me. I love our Jack Russell, Daisy, to bits so I completely understand how much people's pets mean to them - we British often treat them like our children!
Even a strong, healthy dog like Daisy needs regular visits to the vet, but when people find themselves in a position where they can't afford a vet bill, it can be heartbreaking. This is where PDSA comes in, providing vet care to hundreds of thousands of sick and injured pets whose owners are in need and saving lives every day of the week.
This service is funded entirely by public support, so supporting them was a very easy decision for an animal lover like me - giving the gift of life is no mean feat.
The charity has 50 PetAid hospitals up and down the country, but three of these sites are struggling to cope with the huge increases in demand. I heard they needed to raise £6 million to build replacement pet hospitals in Cardiff (in my home country), Birmingham (Quinton) and Plymouth, and knowing that pets are such an important part of people's lives I jumped at the chance to help.
I want to do all I can to support PDSA's amazing work, particularly as one of the new hospitals will be in my home country, so I plan to be a very hands-on Ambassador.
My first task is to spend a day volunteering at Cardiff's current PetAid hospital, which can see well over 150 pets in a single day. I've always wanted to work with animals and am looking forward to sitting in on consultations, meeting the pets and even observing some operations.
I'm also planning plenty of fundraising activities, which will hopefully include a trek to Peru. Being an Ambassador for the UK's biggest pet charity is a great honour, and I know I will enjoy working with PDSA enormously.
I am probably one of the biggest animal lovers in the world, so I can't wait to get stuck in. I'll also be keeping people updated with the progress of the appeal. In the meantime, anyone can help by texting 'BUILD' to 70099 to donate £2 to PDSA's Pet Hospital Appeal.
Economic difficulties over the last few years have had a major effect on UK pet owners, and as a result PDSA has seen a huge increase in demand, stretching the charity's already limited resources. The PetAid hospitals in Birmingham, Cardiff and Plymouth don't have the capacity to cope with the sheer number of pet patients needing help. The Appeal aims to raise £6 million (£2 million per site) to replace the current facilities with larger, purpose-built, state-of-the-art pet hospitals.
PDSA is the UK's leading veterinary charity, and provides free veterinary treatment to the sick and injured pets of eligible people in need. In 2011 PDSA provided more than 2.4 million treatments and more than 420,000 preventive treatments. In 2012 delivery of PDSA PetAid services will cost over £60 million. The charity's veterinary work is funded entirely by public support; mainly through gifts in wills, donations and trading.
To find out more, visit www.pdsa.org.uk/build