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Volunteer of the Month, Tamara Chan

RAPS is all about the animals! But caring for them takes people! We are going to introduce you to more of the human faces of RAPS in coming months – volunteers, staff, supporters and friends!

This week, we feature one of our superb volunteers! Tamara is the human face of RAPS Animal Hospital’s hyperbaric oxygen therapy facility.


What do you do at RAPS?

Main role is hyperbaric assistant, which involves operating the hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber and closely monitoring the animal for the duration of its treatment. My time is also split with admin duties and helping out in the hospital in between patients.

Tell us about your background and how you came to RAPS.

I have a couple of health sciences diplomas and worked in human health care. I had been volunteering with another not-for-profit but realized I needed to be working with animals. I was without an animal of my own but was not ready to adopt another quite yet. (That didn’t last long – I fell in love with Sawyer from the shelter a month in, lol). Had heard about RAPS via social media in a roundabout way. The hospital seemed like a good place to start and I was presented with the idea of hyperbaric assistant, as they were just about to start the program.

What is your favourite part of volunteering here?

The people are great. I am inspired by their dedication and professionalism. The puppy and kitty cuddles come a close second.

Tamara with HBOT patient, Barney

Can you share a story or two about animals who have really benefited from HBOT?

There is Rider, who went from being undisciplined dog with serious medical issues to being our favourite visitor who willingly jumps into the chamber for treatments now. As well as Barney, formerly known as Brownie, who was adopted by one of our receptionists. Barney was heading in the direction of an amputation after being seriously injured. HBOT treatments and continuous care by the hospital staff saved his leg. I have done hundreds of dives [the term for a hyperbaric session] so it’s hard to single out cases.

What makes you commit to helping animals?

I have loved animals from an early age. I am grateful for the opportunity to help the underdog, so to speak. Animals are unable to voice where it hurts like a human can. Helping to facilitate their healing journey is a privilege. The simple answer is that animals give me more than I can ever give them.

On behalf of the animals and people … THANKS Tamara!