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Meet Shelley!

May 12, 2023
Shelley is smiling at the camera and has her arm around yellow Labrador and Guide Dogs ambassador dog, Vanda.

To celebrate National Volunteer Week, we had a chat with one of our long-serving and passionate volunteers, Shelley. Shelley has been an integral part of the Guide Dogs volunteering community since 2004 and has many ‘tails’ to tell!

Guide Dogs volunteer, Shelley is standing in front of a Guide Dogs banner holding a black Labrador Guide Dogs puppy.

Shelley is standing in front of a Guide Dogs banner holding a black Labrador Guide Dogs puppy.

Guide Dogs volunteer, Shelley is standing in front of a Guide Dogs banner holding a black Labrador Guide Dogs puppy. Shelley began her journey with Guide dogs when she was first introduced to the organisation through a close work friend who suggested incorporating Guide Dogs into her Will. Looking back on the conversation at the time, Shelley reflects, “you never know where a conversation is going to lead.” Who would have thought that conversation with her work colleague in the tearoom would have led to an opportunity for Shelley, which she now describes as an “absolute privilege.”

When Shelley retired from working full-time in 2015, Guide Dogs became the perfect way for her to meet people from all walks of life, give back to the community and of course, get her dog fix! Since then, eight years have passed, and Shelley has made a huge impact on the community by giving her time, energy, and passion to Guide Dogs.

“For me, it was more about giving something back; people say you’re giving a lot when really, if you give just a small amount of your time, you get a lot back tenfold,” Shelley said.

Shelley has made life-long friendships and met some wonderful people throughout her time volunteering with Guide Dogs. From folding envelopes, wrapping parcels, helping someone at a morning tea, boarding the dogs or selling merchandise – Shelley has done it all!

For anyone thinking of volunteering, Shelley has the following advice.

“Try to volunteer in all areas; you will meet some wonderful people and you get far more out of it than what you are giving. It enriches your life because the more you put in, the more you get out of the experience,” she said.

Shelley recalled a moment during her volunteering that will stay with her forever, “I was volunteering at a merchandise stall at a train station one morning and a man who had recently lost his pet Labrador dog walked over to the stall to make a donation. As he did, the Guide Dogs Ambassador Dog placed her head on the man’s shoulder as if she knew he was grieving his deceased pet dog. It was incredible to watch this connection and companionship. Dogs truly are miracle workers. The dogs have no idea what joy and pleasure they bring – it really is amazing.”

Shelley’s big heart and love for helping people and animals has made a lasting impression at Guide Dogs. Her dedication and commitment have been an inspiration to all who have had the pleasure of working with her.

We are deeply grateful for Shelley’s eight years of service and remain forever thankful for her dedication, time, and support.



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