Peter & Sharon's Volunteering Story

Posted by Victoria Leedham

About six years ago, Hearing Dogs' Volunteering Family was blessed to welcome Peter and Sharon Shepperd into our midst. Starting as short-term puppy socialisers, they instantly fell in love with the role and are now into their fourth year of Volunteer Puppy Training. As if this isn't enough to keep them busy, they are also active members of the South Bucks Fundraising Group so can be often found raising money and awareness of our charity across the county.

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It was a chance-meeting in a supermarket that brought the Shepperd's to Hearing Dog's doorstep. After hearing a bark down the chilled-section aisle, the Shepperds went to investigate and bumped into a volunteer puppy trainer and her four-legged-friend. After this meeting, they left the supermarket with Hearing Dogs contact details in hand and have never looked back.

 "Over thirty dogs have been with us at our home. Staying anywhere between one day and over a year, we are now with our fifth full time pup, Kai, a Labrador. Although our first pup, Sully, will never be forgotten, Selwyn will always be the Special One for me [Peter]. Almost white, he’s a big Lab who stole my heart (and the hearts of most people he met) forever. Now placed with a family of four, all deaf, he is an exceptional Hearing Dog. But it’s his big personality that wins everyone over; once you meet him you won’t forget him. I fulfilled my dream of taking him on a fishing trip, camping in Scotland. He thought that the whole of Loch Doon and the surrounding hills was his own personal garden and soon became Monarch of the Glen. We are in touch with his recipient and he recently came to stay for a two-week holiday. It was so wonderful to see him again. To honour him I use his name on all my homemade preserves etc. There’s a Selwyn’s Slobber Mustard and if you’re very lucky you might get a taste of Selwyn’s Ginger Buck, a strong alcoholic ginger beer." Peter comments.

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Aside from the dogs, Sharon praises the sense of community that has come hand-in-hand with this volunteer role.

"The Hearing Dog volunteer family is the greatest side-benefit of volunteering. In all our lives we’ve never been so busy with meeting our new friends for lunch, walks, coffee and fundraising. We have to use our phone calendars to keep track! When fundraising, the teams of volunteers make light of any hard work and it’s always a joy to be part of. The Volunteering team are just about the nicest people and always look after us. When I don my burgundy shirt & fleece I feel proud to be a small part of this organisation. It’s very special."

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About the author

Victoria Leedham

Hello, I’m Victoria and the Volunteering Manager at Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. We refer to our volunteers as the Hearing Dogs ‘family’ and really mean it; hopefully some of my blog posts here will explain why!

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