Sue's Volunteering Story

Posted by Victoria Leedham

 In April 2011 Hearing Dogs was lucky enough to welcome Sue with open arms into our volunteering family. Sue had endured a tough few years prior to joining Hearing Dogs, suffering from serious health issues and numerous surgeries and was forced to take early retirement on health grounds.

“As my retirement came early I was not prepared for it and found being at home full-time frustrating, boring and if I’m honest, very lonely”. Sue tried to find activities to fill her time – education classes, volunteering in charity shops and serving in coffee shops, but found these added to her stress and didn’t improve her situation. Though, as fate would have it, she bumped into a volunteer puppy trainer whilst shopping and started chatting about the opportunities to get involved with Hearing Dogs. After seeing an article about  volunteer puppy training following this chance meeting, Sue decided to apply for volunteer puppy training and on being accepted a few weeks after, has not looked back.

Sue left the training centre, The Grange with an 8 week old Cocker Spaniel puppy, her first of four puppies she's had for full training. “The presence of a puppy gave me a new found sense of purpose”, Sue stated, and has transformed her retirement to no-end. Although a daunting prospect initially, the puppy came with a care manual and more importantly a Hearing Dog Trainer who supported Sue and the puppy all the way through it’s training.

The latest puppy Sue has trained, Buffy, a golden Cockerpoo (pictured above) who stayed with Sue whilst she learnt her life-changing sound work, has recently been placed with a recipient. Sue was delighted to receive a message from Buffy’s recipient who said, “She has completely changed my life and I am so happy to have her!” This pays dividence to the dedication, time and love given to Buffy from Sue whilst in her care.

Sue now volunteers with Hearing Dogs, not just as a brilliant volunteer puppy trainer, but also in giving talks at local groups like Brownies, Guides, and colleges as well as getting involved in numerous fundraising activities! Despite her momentous achievements, the ever-humble Sue comments, “You hear about the dogs changing the recipients lives, but on-the-side of this, the puppies have certainly changed mine!” One thing’s for certain, Hearing Dogs is eternally grateful for the hard work of Sue and the powers of fate that led her to our volunteering doorstep!


Psst! Don’t miss all the latest Hearing Dogs news…


Psst! sign up so you don't miss out
Would you like to know more about us, our dogs and our amazing community? We have a free monthly e-newsletter that we send out to 40,000 of our fantastic friends. It would be great if you joined, too.

You’ll get:
  • Updates on how we train our dogs and how they change deaf people’s lives.
  • A monthly dose of Cute Corner – a post dedicated to our adorable puppies!
  • Behind-the-scenes stories and photos.
  • News of upcoming events and ways you can help us create more hearing dogs.


Share this post with your friends


Add a comment

All comments are moderated

About the author

Victoria Leedham

Hello, I'm Victoria and Head of Volunteering for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and Hearing Link. It’s my privilege to celebrate and share stories about our wonderful volunteer family.

More posts by this author