Volunteer of the Month - March 2022 - Aimee Barley

Posted by Victoria Leedham

Is there no end to Aimee Barley’s talents? Not only is she a talented dog trainer and social media star, today she is calling in at The Beatrice Wright Centre, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People’s base in East Yorkshire, to drop off 28 enrichment toys - snuffle mats, activity mats and puppy raggers – that she handmade as part of February’s ‘28 Challenge’.

This is in addition to the £360 Aimee raised through completing various challenges, including trainee Mocha waiting for 28 seconds for 28 treats, an agility course with tunnel runs, hoop jumps, leg weaves, spins and hurdle jumps adding up to 28 activities, as well as completing as many tricks as possible in 28 seconds… phew!

Aimee worked really hard, not only on the 28 Challenge itself, but also in making charming videos and photos for other people to engage with and enjoy on Instagram, Yammer and Facebook. Matt Sadler, Social Media Executive, explains why this is so important:

“Over and above being a very talented dog trainer, Aimee also takes the most amazing photos, which really help us to spread awareness of the Charity. If you ever need to see a happy face, then Mocha’s Instagram page is the place to go - it is a collection of the most joyous photos! It is abundantly clear just how much Mocha adores her, and his cheerful personality shines out.

Nothing is ever too much trouble for Aimee, she’s so helpful whenever we request anything in particular. She nails the brief, and then always goes above and beyond. She is a huge asset to the Charity, brilliant at raising awareness on social media, and also a very popular person within the Hearing Dogs family.”

Emily Whiting, Dog Training Instructor, agrees: “Aimee is a true ambassador and has introduced many new people to Hearing Dogs through her very popular Instagram account: @mocha_hearingdog

She has real talent in this area, and kindly shared her skills to help me create video footage to support new volunteers. This is Aimee to a tee; she is a hugely committed volunteer who goes the extra mile every single day and gives as much as she can outside her job as a waitress. Along with her family she has recently learnt some British Sign Language and whenever she is not working, she is teaching Mocha new tricks, keeping his excellent sound work up to date and taking him on fun adventures.”

“Aimee really is the apple of Mocha’s eye” says Dog Welfare Advisor Becky Hewick. “They have such a brilliant relationship and she’s worked amazingly with all his Poodle quirks! I’ve become involved over the last year or so with his handling and grooming; everyone in the Welfare Team regularly comment on how well she’s done with him.

Through my involvement, I can say that Aimee really does listen and follow all instructions. Handling and grooming aren’t Mocha’s favourite things in life, so we’ve needed to go right back to basics and create a specialised plan for him. This meant her dropping him off at the Centre weekly, as well as dedicating lots of time to really focus on his needs. Aimee is great at keeping us updated every step of the way and her commitment has really paid off as Mocha has come on leaps and bounds.

Recently, poor Mocha had to have his anal glands removed and what with some minor complications Aimee has been back and forth from the vet’s what must seem like endlessly. Aimee always made time for these trips, never complained and did absolutely everything to ensure Mocha was as comfortable as possible during his recovery. Once again, she has kept me well informed throughout the whole process.”

Aimee really does support Hearing Dogs in every way possible and takes time to highlight the importance of our purpose of helping deaf people leave loneliness behind in her social media messaging and fundraising. We are truly fortunate to count Aimee in our volunteer family, and we know that Mocha is an exceptionally contented boy in her loving and skilled care.

When applying to Hearing Dogs in 2018 Aimee said that she “would love to volunteer” in order to have “the opportunity to give something back to the community around me, especially in something that I take a strong passion in”. Congratulations Aimee - you’ve certainly managed that!

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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.

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