Sylvia started Safely Graze Animal Welfare Trust in 1984, after being on SPCA committees, and she advocates particulatly for the neutering of domestic pets.She started pet/people support services such as pet-feeding, wheelchair and pet taxi and grooming services then and also started pet therapy in hospitals and age-care homes. With her erstwhile helpers, she took pets to schools, publicity events and parades, to talk about petcare, and animal welfare issues.
She has been writing down the stories of her animal friends for years, and has now finished illustrating her petcare book.
One of her animal friends was "Dippy', a black cat with a balance problem, who got stuck up a telegraph pole after arrival at the sanctuary. He fortunately got himself down the pole, as Sylvia couldn't climb ladders, and helped raise money for vet fees for himself and other differently-abled animals, like "Whitey" the old white cat with cauliflower ears, who was adored by his new owner's toddler and brought home wildcat "Bluey" when she got lost.
Sylvia completed a Diploma in Horticulture, an M.A. in Social Anthropology and a Graduate Diploma in Adult Learning and Teaching, (ESOL endorsment) at Massey University, New Zealand. She wrote her M.A. thesis on ME/Chronic Post-Viral Fatigue Syndrome, which she has, along with EDS/Marfans (tall people's hypermobility and heart) Syndrome.
Sylvia started Alverno Retreat by the sea, (which is a charity that provides affordable, disability-friendly holidays, and has WHOOFERS/ESOL students come to stay), after studying rehabilitation counselling, pastoral care at St John's Theological College, CPE for hospital chaplaincy, and teacher-aiding. She enjoys singing in a choir and being a civil marriage celebrant.
Where to find Sylvia Irwin online
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