Volunteer of the Month - August 2019 - Nicole Brett

Posted by Victoria Leedham

Volunteer for a cause and not for applause. Live life to express and not to impress.

How grateful Hearing Dogs for Deaf People is to volunteers like Nicole Brett who exemplify these words, and who embody the true altruism of giving without expecting to receive.

Nicole and Scout2.JPG

Joanna Fearnley says: “I first met Nicole in 2017 when I took over as Puppy Training Instructor for the area north of Reading. Every time we’ve met and worked together since, she’s always been so upbeat and cheerful. Despite her cancer diagnosis she has continued to be completely dedicated to her volunteering and keen to help as much as she can, fitting holiday cover dogs around her various hospital appointments and busy family life.”

“She has helped with setting out the puppy hall for sensory games and the like, and acted as a second set of eyes for me at puppy class - gently letting me know if anyone might need an extra helping hand. She’s so welcoming to new volunteers, a great mentor and source of knowledge, even making herself available on WhatsApp for tips and support”.

“Nicole’s mixture of fun, yet seriously motivated, personality is a true inspiration”, corroborates fellow volunteer Morag Zelisko.

Nicole consistently embraces and keeps up-to-date with the training methods here at Hearing Dogs and most recently has done a brilliant job as a puppy nanny, taking on pups from 8 weeks old and looking after them until they were ready to go to their full-time volunteer puppy trainers.

“It wouldn’t be unusual to see Nicole sitting on her drive to get these youngsters used to traffic noise, and she’s also taken them to the riding stables where her daughter rides to introduce them to horses, new sights and smells”, says Joanna.

Before becoming ill, Nicole herself trained Mac, Scout and Victor full time and this fabulous trio are now doing her proud as working assistance dogs. “I’ve been blessed with Victor” says his deaf partner Keith.

 Nicole Scout & Victor pup.jpg

In speaking with Scout’s partner Eileen, she says she cannot find the words to express how much this clever and loveable Cockapoo means to her and how grateful she is to Nicole: “Scout is my world. She’s an amazing dog who has gave me the confidence to go out and embrace life again. The difference she has made is immeasurable, and her funny personality makes my husband and I laugh every day!”

Nicole has raised funds and publicity for Hearing Dogs, introduced her friends to volunteering, talked to Brownie groups about the charity and been a buddy to new volunteers. She has learnt British Sign Language as part of her involvement and brought Scout along to classes to help everyone with their exam nerves – “I probably owe my Level 1 to Scout!” jokes Community Fundraising Manager Nicholas Orpin.

We really can’t thank Nicole enough for everything she’s done for the Hearing Dogs community. She’s bright and funny and given so much of herself to help others, never once complaining of her own serious health deterioration.

Eileen concludes: “Nicole is a truly lovely and generous lady. It’s been a privilege to meet up with her and thank her for her huge part in bringing Scout into my life. Each time, Scout has recognised her, cried with delight and jumped into her arms!”

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About the author

Victoria Leedham

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

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