HELPFUL HOUNDS PEOPLE
STUART THOMPSON (TRUSTEE CHAIR)
Stuart started his career in the fire service and completed ten years before joining the Police for a further fifteen. One of his roles within the Police Service was Wildlife & Countryside Officer in Surrey. As a result, every issue concerning animal welfare, landed on his desk. This left him with a wide knowledge of both animal behaviour and welfare issues.
A brain injury some years ago, left Stuart in a wheelchair. This also meant leaving the Police Force. Since that time, he has worked with his own Assistance Dog, named Woody.
“I recognised from the start that it was important for my Dog to match my own character as well as being trained to do tasks that help me with my daily life. I could see that Woody had an outgoing character, just like me, and that we could enjoy life’s adventures together”.
Today, I am keen to help others, especially younger people, to benefit from having an Assistance or Therapy Dog. However, at the front of my mind is always that the Dog must fit well with the family or School and the Dog’s welfare is a vital consideration for all.
ANNE GRAY (TRUSTEE)
Anne has been a full-time wheelchair user for many years following a motor bike accident. She had a long career in the public sector, in both central and local government. Unfortunately, due to a shoulder injury she had to give up work.
Anne obtained her own Assistance Dog in 2013 when she found herself in a dark place following the death of her mother.
“After the death of my mother I became quite withdrawn, but my dog, Lillie, changed all that as she gave me a focus and a reason to get up in the morning. Lillie helps me by picking things up I have dropped, getting the mail and the phone and getting the washing out of the washing machine. But most importantly, she gives me the confidence to go out on my own. And, with my dog by my side, I can go anywhere, even getting the bus into town rather than taking the car. Lillie is helping to save the planet, one trip at a time!”
“As a result of my own experiences, I am very keen to help other people with all types of disability, have the opportunity that I have had, and change their lives with the help of an amazing dog”.
SALLY RUFUS (TRUSTEE)
Sally has a mixture of business and caring responsibilities. She has operated her own catering business as well as, for over 25 years, being involved in market research for a major International Company.
With two very grown up Children, who have families of their own, Sally has volunteered in the Charity sector for the last twelve years and becoming involved with Helpful Hounds at the beginning of 2018.
“Peter and I are now in a situation where we can give back to the community and, having seen the difference that an Assistance or Therapy Dog can make, I am totally committed to helping develop Helpful Hounds so that more young people and Schools benefit”.
PETER RUFUS (TRUSTEE AND VOLUNTEER CEO)
Peter spent most of his working life in financial services where he was, first, a Lloyds Broker in London and later the Marketing Manager for a major company in Bournemouth. Recently, he has run a Consultancy from London and Bournemouth working in the UK, Middle East, and Africa.
Working on a Voluntary basis, as CEO, Peter also is DBS Checked and holds a current First Aid Certificate.
“I believe in giving time and energy to the voluntary sector. For twenty-five years, in London, I was a member of St John Ambulance and ran two Cadet Divisions. This proved more difficult when the family is growing up, but Sally and I are in a better position to give time now. Recently, it became clear that there was a growing need that was not being met: Young people with Autism, Down’s Syndrome and other emotional issues who would benefit from having an Assistance or Therapy Dog.
Helpful Hounds Assistance Dogs was created from this real need. I am committed to playing my part in the great team, we have, to develop the full potential of the Charity as well as the young people within the families we help”.
SALLY HARVEY (TRUSTEE AND AMBASSADOR)
Sally worked for several years at the Job Centre as well as for Cherwell Council. During this time, she worked, as a Volunteer for:
- The Cheshire Home for adults with disabilities
- Sycamore House, a home for children with Downs Syndrome.
Sally, later, became passionate about the homeless and worked, for over 15 years, in Bath and Bournemouth with street homeless, addicts and those with mental health issues.
Working in her capacity of an Ambassador for Helpful Hounds, Sally is DBS (Enhanced) checked.
Approximately 7 years ago Sally was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and had to give up employment.
“I wasn’t prepared to give up my passion, however. I went on to found the AOK Rucksack Appeal. A charity devoted to getting the homeless off the street and back into the community. During this time, I learnt a great deal about grants, fund raising and getting “yourself out there” which is a fundamental for any Charity”.
“Last year I obtained my dog Molli who, with the help of Helpful Hounds, I am training to be my therapy dog”.
“I love the way Helpful Hounds is run and feel that I can help by promoting the Charity and raising funds. I feel privileged to have been offered this opportunity. I will use my knowledge and enthusiasm to be both a Trustee and Ambassador”.
MATT (SENIOR TRAINER)
Matt has always had a passion for dogs, having grown up in the New Forest with Border Collies. However, his interest turned practical when he became involved with Dog Training just over ten years ago. Initially, he became involved as a Volunteer with The Labrador Rescue Charity. After that he spent eight years with an Assistance Dog Charity before joining Helpful Hounds at the beginning of 2018.
Matt is also involved with “Paws in Hand” as a Trainer and is part of their Display Team.
As well as attending many seminars on seminars courses and workshops, Matt qualified through The Institute of Modern Dog Trainers (IMDT) and has specialised in task work training for Assistance and Therapy Dogs. In addition, Matt is DBS Registered and is certified in Dog First Aid as well as Human First Aid.
“I only use the most up to date reward-based training which has been scientifically proven to be the most effective method of training. This involves toys, food, play, fuss and environmental enrichment. It is fun for the dog as well as stimulating that help build strong relationships between the Dog and Partner. This is exactly what adds value to everything we do at Helpful Hounds”
NICOLA (SENIOR TRAINER)
Nicola has owned dogs for many years, her earliest memory being the family dog, a golden retriever, Barney. She has a real love for all dogs but especially, German Shepherds, having had one during the last 10 years. Being an animal lover, Nicola also has a background owning and riding horses, having ridden from an early age.
During the last 5 years, Nicola have been working as an Assistance Dog Trainer, starting as a volunteer Dog Trainer for another charity.
To further her training career, she has attended many professional courses, conferences, seminars, passed various online courses and is consistently studying with the IMDT (Institute of Modern Dog Trainers) to develop her professional skills. Nicola also, like Matt, has passed First Aid Courses for both Dogs and Humans and is DBS Checked.
“As Assistance Dog Trainers, we are always developing ourselves so we can be the best trainers we can possibly be, and we always put the welfare of the dogs, high on the list of priorities! “
“I am a passionate Dog Owner and Trainer. Two years ago, I helped to start a new Charity, Helpful Hounds! I am very lucky, as I love my job, working with some lovely families as well as Schools and, of course, the amazing dogs! Having witnessed the difference that our Helpful Hounds can have on the family, the Schools and the individuals, I am totally committed”.
SOPHIE MARTIN (TRAINER)
I have grown up with a gorgeous Alsatian cross since I was a child. I have a conditions that cause me to pass out and dislocate any joints daily. So the age of 16 I applied for my first assistance dog Alice who is a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever . When I receive Alice I fell in love with training and working with dogs so I went to college and studied Animal Management for a year whilst volunteering for a assistance dog charity learning how to train dogs.
Since then I have owner trained my own medical alert assistance dog May who is a lab cross golden retriever. Both of my assistance dogs are trained in medical alert and responds assistance tasks such as picking up dropped items and getting help. They are also both trained in PTSD response and trained to hold my joints down when they spasms and deep pressure therapy to help with the pain. I have helped train lots of dogs to be assistance dogs for the last 5 years and enjoy working with lots of different breeds. I use my disability as an advantage when training dogs such as coming up with different ways to train when being disabled. All of my training methods are positive and I enjoy learning the advances in dog training.