Volunteer of the Month - May 2019 - Ray Hole

Posted by Victoria Leedham

How lucky we were when Ray and wife Lisa moved to High Wycombe from the United Sates some five and half years ago and thought to contact Hearing Dogs for Deaf People! In fact, it’s difficult to remember anyone arriving with such pertinent experience as Ray:

“I previously volunteered at an animal shelter whilst living in the USA, working mainly with dogs. During this time, I would socialise, groom and walk the dogs, show dogs to potential adopters, answering questions they might have, mentoring new volunteers and assist with fundraising events. As a senior volunteer I would also work with 'special needs' dogs, providing them with socialisation and training prior to them being assessed for their suitability for adoption.”

Suffice as to say we pretty much signed him up on the spot and it wasn’t long before Ray was regularly dog walking, being fast-tracked as a training assistant, had their names down as potential stud dog holders and were looking forward to their first house guests Darwen and Keats.

Fast forward to today and Ray is one of our most regular and accomplished volunteers on site, coming in twice a week and quietly getting on with whatever there is to do. Fellow volunteer Eunice Wennberg says: “Ray is always keen to be kept busy. He slips in and out of site almost unnoticed and simply gets the job done, often dealing with dogs who are not the most straightforward and always following instructions to the letter”.

“Ray has taken a lead role in training Lenny’s soundwork and is doing brilliantly with this” says Dog Trainer Harriet Green, “he is always helping me and the other Trainers out like Jessica Sweeney and Hollie Gallagher”.

“Ray has helped with two of my dogs: Diesel who he worked wonders with and is now out working as a child’s hearing dog; and Bea, who he’s done lots of work with on her soundwork and especially her lead work - she now walks beautifully to heel”, reports Jessica.

Hollie agrees: “Ray is fantastic with the dogs and they all seem to love him! He is patient and understanding of their needs, uses his initiative and is very sensible and thoughtful with planning his time. I always feeling confident asking him to work with the dogs I’m training, and, on several occasions, he’s even had one of them home on holiday cover”.

Ray and Lisa’s home is always welcoming to four-pawed holiday guests, especially if they’re one of the thirty-five offspring of their Labrador stud dog Goldie who they’ve loved and looked after since 2015.

“Ray and Lisa are great volunteers for Goldie ‘The Gentle Giant’,” reports Puppy Supply Supervisor, Jon Ford. “They’ve been a big part of the breeding scheme over the last few years (including being involved with our very own Demo Team) and make an awesome trio”.

We’d like to let Ray know that his quiet style doesn’t mean his volunteering goes unnoticed. His capability and experience has proven as invaluable as it seemed from the outset, and it’s a joy when we see both Ray and Lisa at The Grange for afternoon tea and at the numerous fundraising events they kindly support – always keeping an eye out for Goldie’s offspring of course!

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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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