Volunteer of the Month - December 2018 - Janet Rutson

Posted by Victoria Leedham

It’s a privilege to celebrate someone like Janet Rutson at Christmastime, as she embodies the spirit of volunteerism so truly. She is a natural giver in life – contributing whole-heartedly to the happiness and well-being of others, and to engaging and enriching her community, whilst seeking no glory nor personal gain whosever. She is a shining star in the Hearing Dogs volunteer family, yet one our most modest and understated.

Chinnor Flower Show

Local to The Grange in Chinnor, Janet has been connected to Hearing Dogs since the mid-90s but her volunteering really took off in 2005 when she applied to become a puppy socialiser. The first dog she looked after was Molly, a black and tan Yorkshire Terrier, and since then, countless others have been lucky enough to stay with Janet and husband John, as Dog Trainer Paul Tommey recounts:

“Janet has been volunteering for as long as I can remember. She has done almost all the volunteer roles relating to dogs over the years – puppy socialiser, fostering a hearing dog mum, holiday cover, you name it – Janet’s done it! Whenever you phone her you know that if she can possibly help, she will, even if it means changing some of her own arrangements to fit in with ours as she really hates to have to say no. Janet once took a tricky dog of mine over the Christmas period. He really led her a merry dance, yet she readily helped me out with him again when I needed it. She is one of those people who just gets on with things and never makes a fuss. I wish we could clone her!”

Claire Jones, Puppy Supply Manager, agrees: “Janet is always so very helpful, keen to be involved and has had all types of dogs to stay, from the very elderly to a litter of new born pups to nurture and raise. She really does give so much of her time to the charity, always saying yes to help Hearing Dogs in whatever way she can.”

“I so appreciate of all the help she has given to fostering,” says Danni Whitty from the Welfare Department, “for years she has looked after dogs of all shapes and sizes that have needed cover, often coming to collect them at short notice, then bringing them back in for various appointments, like with the vet for example. It's always a pleasure to ask her to look after our dogs as Janet is so accommodating and such a nice person.”

Baz, one of our more senior hearing dogs, was the latest guest Janet kindly looked after. Both he and the team were pleased to see Janet when she came to collect: “I love it when I know that Janet is collecting one of our dogs from The Grange and always try to catch up with her. She has a great sense of humour and is guaranteed to brighten my day” says Karen Long of our Operations Liaison & Logistics Team.

A sentiment that’s shared by Community Fundraising Manager Michelle Sapwell: “Janet is always smiling, warm and friendly – the perfect volunteer. She does so much for the charity from looking after all those dogs to innumerable fundraising events including Chinnor Flower Show, various local Fun Days, Fairs and Fetes, Paws for Coffees, Open Studios, Great British Dogs Walks, the Kop Hill Climb and the Thame Food Festival. The cheques just roll in, she’s raised thousands and never stops spreading the word about Hearing Dogs!”

Every year, Janet sponsors a tree and decorates it in a Hearing Dogs theme for the Christmas Tree Festival at St. Andrew's church in Chinnor. It’s completely charming, and Janet’s daughter Christine has been known to get involved too. We can’t wait to see this year’s!

Hearing Dogs can’t thank Janet enough for her giving nature, warm personality and years of dedicated and selfless volunteering. Claire Jones concludes: “Janet’s home is always open and welcoming to the Hearing Dogs family, whether human or canine. Both Janet and John are people you can turn to and count on, knowing they will do their very best to help in any and every situation - Janet is a real-life star!”

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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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