These voluntary positions have inspired her career path. “I want to be a vet. I love being here and helping out with the animals,” she says.
Kaia has two puppies at home – one was from a litter of five eight-week-old puppies. “When they came to us they were covered in fleas. We bathed them and cleaned them up and took them for walks. My one was the runt but he was brave.” Her other puppy was found on the side of the road at just three weeks old.
Fellow volunteer Theo Francis, aged 12, says he has been surrounded by pets his entire life – and wants to keep it that way.
Like Kaia, his goal is to become a vet. Theo loves all aspects of his voluntary work at Te Are Manu. He came to Rarotonga last year with his family from Hamilton, New Zealand, and will be here for at least three years.
Theo likes the variety of animals that come into the clinic, and while he and Kaia don’t mind doing the laundry, washing dishes, cleaning cages, making staff lunches and petting the animals, they both agree that watching the surgery is a highlight.
Adult or mature teenage volunteers are always welcome at Te Are Manu, as there is always something to do for those who have the time and love animals.