Volunteer of the Month - April 2018 - Katie George

Posted by Victoria Leedham

Katie George has been a brilliant member of our South West volunteer team since 2012; nurturing and training eight dogs for the charity, namely Orca, Bertie, Clay, Harley, Jack, Linus, Luca and, currently, super Spaniel Zola (below) through our puppy socialising and volunteer dog training schemes.

 Katie George and Zola

As well as training, Katie frequently gives up her time to attend fundraising events as well as being the first to offer round trips from Devon to elsewhere across the country (including overnight stays) to help with the safe transit of the precious dogs she’s loved and cared for as they head off on the next stage of their hearing dog journeys.

Modest and understated, Katie is one of those completely altruistic volunteers who gives so much and demands so little. Tom Green, Puppy Training Course Manager, says: “Katie is very softly spoken never one to push for the limelight, she simply gets on with the task at hand with absolute dedication. She takes great pride in the training side of things and has a great ability to give something special to the more challenging dogs she helps us with, I think her calm and composed manner plays a big part in that”.

Puppy Training Instructor, Julie Clarke, agrees: “Every dog benefits from Katie's kind, calm and consistent handling. She has an outstanding ability to understand and communicate with the puppies and dogs in her care.

Katie is also wonderful at supporting and helping other members of the local team. She has a sensitive way of being on hand to give practical and emotional support which is really appreciated by her peers and by me too. Her empathy, kindness and sense of humour make her an absolute pleasure to work with”.

Fellow volunteer Carol James now counts Katie as a firm friend: “I met Katie through Hearing Dogs puppy classes five years ago. She is an excellent volunteer dog trainer and is always willing to help with advice and practical ways, particularly with some of the problem pups I’ve had. We live quite close together and Katie has been kind enough to meet me three or four times a week over the last three months to help train my latest Spaniel pup who has a strong hunt and chase preference. We’ve had great fun in all weathers getting this young dog to chase toys instead of wildlife and I really couldn’t have continued without Katie’s daily help and our trainer Julie Clarke’s regular advice and guidance.

Katie takes on older pups often with some problem and it’s amazing to see these little pups transform so quickly into fully trained Hearing Dogs. Katie has a real talent for this work. She has such a calm manner about her. Not one to be in the spotlight, Katie quietly gets on with the training. Always being on hand to help and assist others with their dogs. At short notice she has taken in dogs and often doubles up training with one pup waiting to be placed with a recipient and a new pup arriving to be trained. We all agree - she is amazing”.

Katie George and Clay

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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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