Volunteers of the Month - January 2018: Grahame & Jan Shally

Posted by Victoria Leedham

Hearing Dogs is so lucky that the first contact people have with the charity if very often through meeting a member of our volunteer family or through a talk presented by one of our fabulous volunteer speakers. That was the case for Grahame & Jan Shally who heard of Hearing Dogs through one of their relatives and – even second hand – thought our work sounded so good they’d like to get involved!

Fast forward four years and Grahame & Jan are now integral to the volunteering team at our Beatrice Wright Centre in East Yorkshire, helping in many capacities and always going the extra mile.


Emily Whiting, Dog Trainer, explains: “Grahame & Jan started volunteering in 2014 as puppy socialisers. When their first pup Beck was ready for advanced training, they immediately offered to continue to look after him on a training-from-home basis.

Grahame shows a great interest in training and behaviour, and enthusiastically takes on board any advice. Grahame always has a positive attitude and has overcome various challenges brilliantly with Beck.

Jan also volunteers on Reception and bakes amazing cakes for the Thursday Tour, with an extra one for staff which always goes down well!”

Puppy Training Instructor, Amie Cram, agrees: “They are both brilliant! Beck wasn’t the most straightforward of puppies to socialise, he was quite a distractible little pup but not once did this phase Grahame. He was always thoroughly kind, patient and kept on giving 100% to training him with a smile on his face. 

It is due to Grahame & Jan's hard work, dedication and fantastic sense of humour that Beck matured nicely and entered training with one of the best nose nudges I have ever seen!”


Sam Bennett, Training Team Leader, echoes both Emily and Amie's comments: “Grahame & Jan are always happy to help and have often welcomed other puppy visitors on holiday cover alongside Beck.

Jan volunteers on Reception which frees up staff time for us to be able to carry out more visits to see our pups and dogs in training. The cakes she makes are also delicious, and completely off her on back she has chosen to make extras for the staff to have!”

It’s clear that Grahame & Jan have made a hugely positive impact since joining the Hearing Dogs volunteer family. They might describe themselves as ‘all about the dogs’, but it’s self-evident they’re all about the people too. They attend most recruitment events and are great ambassadors for the charity, offering advice and encouragement to new volunteers.

Emily sums them up: “Grahame & Jan are just fabulous! We are truly honoured to have their help and support, and to count such lovely people in the volunteer family.”

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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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