Volunteer of the Month - March 2018 - Stuart MacDonald

Posted by Victoria Leedham

Stuart MacDonald is one of those absolutely priceless volunteers who Hearing Dogs for Deaf People is indebted to in such an enormous way, and yet they ask for no thanks nor credit, and go about their volunteering in an entirely altruistic way.

His involvement with Hearing Dogs has been unwavering for over 20 years and over that time Stuart has carved out a unique role, caring for working hearing dogs in Scotland when their deaf recipients need support in any way.

Clare Binns, Northern Partnership Team Leader explains: “Stuart is a massive help to the Partnership Team in Scotland. He’s someone who doesn’t think twice about going the extra mile and will always make himself available at short notice for any emergencies that may arise.

He has travelled the length and breadth of Scotland over the years, never claiming for fuel costs or any expense, and always thinking to put the dogs first. He fosters both short-term and long-term visitors and doesn’t even let his holidays get in the way, as lucky hearing dog Rico (who holidayed with Stuart and his wife Mairi last year) can testify!”

Partnership Instructor, Emma Coates, agrees: “Stuart is incredibly helpful and always thinks to communicate anything he’s noticed about how a dog in his care is behaving, any health issues, or diet changes.

He’s very generous with his time, and it really seems that nothing is too much trouble. He’s an invaluable member of the Scottish team and someone we can really count on. The many recipients who know Stuart feel reassured their dogs are well looked after by him and Mairi, and some of the more elderly visitors like hearing dog Okall enjoy nothing better than hopping onto Stuart’s lap for an afternoon snooze!”

Stuart MacDonald and HD Okall

Carol Jones, Community Fundraising Manager for Scotland (currently on maternity leave) concurs: “I know so many Scottish recipients who speak highly of Stuart. He’s part of the Hearing Dogs fabric and we’re blessed with his support.

Not only is he an accomplished volunteer speaker in his own right, he has driven other speakers to their own bookings when they’ve needed it - not wanting to let down any audiences and the opportunity to spread the word about Hearing Dogs. He’s even been known to do a 200-mile round trip, and never claimed any expenses for doing so as he felt it was his contribution to the charity.”

Never missing an opportunity to promote Hearing Dogs, Stuart even recruited his neighbours and good friends Ann and John Roy to also become volunteers. Partnerships Instructor, Alex McQuiggan, says: “Stuart never tires of his volunteering. Both he and Mairi are kind and considerate people and very well respected locally. Thanks to them, almost the entire community knows about our charity and have a positive impression of Hearing Dogs.”

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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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