Volunteers of the Month - September 2018 - Diane & Geoff Hollows

Posted by Victoria Leedham

Hearing dog puppies spend their first 14 - 16 months with a puppy socialiser volunteer learning the ropes, then return to one of our two centres for their advanced training. Some dogs, however, benefit from staying within a home environment right up until the day they are placed with their deaf recipient.

We have a small number of wonderful volunteers who home these dogs, allowing one of our experienced members of staff to visit on a regular basis to carry out training within the house and garden. One such super couple is Di and Geoff Hollows, from Pocklington, who first joined us in 2011 as Bed & Breakfast volunteers later transferring to Training from Home when retirement afforded the time to do so – along with a gentle nudge from our training team!

 

Dog Trainer Willow Greenwood explains: “Di and Geoff have been with the charity for a good few years. They started with B&B but we manged to convince them to try Training from Home when they retired and I am so glad they agreed!  They have taken on a number of dogs with complex characters and have given each of them the opportunity to flourish as hearing dogs through their consistently high standard of training and loving care.”

“They are literally amazing these two and have had one of my dogs, Jade, for a number of months now. They have spent hours recording data for me and they've worked wonders with her and really built her confidence. It’s a pleasure to work with them.”

Volunteering of this nature is truly selfless. By definition it’s undertaken quietly and at home, with no fanfare or glory – but with such a valid contribution to helping each one of our hearing dogs reach its full potential.

Di is also kindly on our volunteer driver roster. It’s yet another role that exemplifies the type of volunteer who supports Hearing Dogs in a background but exceptionally helpful way. No distance is too far for Di and she is happy to offer her time when needed, sometimes accompanied by Geoff.

Lizzie Phillips, Centre Manager at the Beatrice Wright Centre, concludes: “Di and Geoff are real assets to the northern volunteer team.  Not only are they talented and relied-upon Training from Home volunteers, but Di is also one of our volunteer drivers, happy to go out - even at short notice - to collect a dog or pick up a recipient from the train station. They've had about 25 dogs pass through their door over the years including Jade who’s with them now; we’re very grateful for their care of each and every one of them.”

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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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