All through Volunteers’ Week, we are going to be sharing just some of the 230+ nominations we have received from our charity partners celebrating and saying ‘thank you’ to their inspirational Hidden Heroes. First up, it’s Stuart from our great friends Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.
Volunteer Name: Stuart
Nominated by: Hearing Dogs for Deaf People
Hotel Break: Imperial Hotel, Llandudno
Stuart 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 an entirely altruistic way. His involvement with Hearing Dogs has been unwavering for 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!”
Never missing an opportunity to promote Hearing Dogs, Stuart even recruited his neighbours 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.”
Hearing Dogs do absolutely amazing work and have been partners with R2R since the early days. It’s a pleasure for us to help give something back to their volunteers and endlessly trawl their Instagram (seriously, check it out – so many dogs!)
We’ll leave the final word to the man himself. Here’s what Stuart had to say about his volunteering.
“I have had well over a 100 dogs. One or two are regular visitors. One year I had a total of nineteen. I have had three Hearing Dogs at one time; Mairi is a saint!! Some like Okall have been with me more times than I care to remember. Okall is now coming up 12 and she normally comes twice a year. One or two dogs have been with me for up to three months. I had one Lab who was with me for a total period of over a year. His recipient was not only profoundly deaf but also suffered mental health problems. When things got on top of him, the dog came to me. Sometimes he would be with me for three to four months while the recipient got some help. This will give you some idea of what I think of the Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. I am known in the area as the Hearing Dog man – What an honour!”