What Is It Like Being a Brigadoon Service Dogs Volunteer? - By Edwina Kleeman (2008)
Well, first you have to find Brigadoon. There are many ways—word of mouth, going to the dentist, finding us on our or someone else’s website. I found out about Brigadoon by going to the dentist and having my teeth cleaned— but that is a whole other story!
I was unsure about volunteering and having them dependent on me since I am retired and travel quite a bit in the spring and fall. But it has not been a problem. I have been volunteering for about a year.
I help to train the dogs. My only prior dog experience was MANY years ago—we had two labs. Boy, things have changed since then! Denise has been a wonderful teacher and now we also have Kathleen who is our full-time trainer.
I volunteer 3-4 hours a week. It is always a fun, challenging, frustrating, and rewarding job. There are days I think I am finally “getting it”. It has been amazing to follow the dogs from puppy to adolescent to adult. Sometimes it is The Brigadoon Barker Volume 1, Issue 2– June 2008 Brigadoon Birthdays Six smooth collies celebrated their 1st birthday on March 21st. The girls are Lily and Gypsy and the boys are Bond, Irish, Tate, and Tommy. Beau also celebrated his first birthday on April 24. Nugget one of our golden retrievers celebrated her second birthday on March 14th. Sometimes it's one step forward and two back and sometimes it is three leaps forward.
I have not been to a graduation where dogs are graduated with their new owners. But I have seen dogs come back to visit and I have been amazed. When I left for vacation, the puppies were still in training, still not quite there. Then all of a sudden, the puppies realized they have a job and the change is amazing. The dogs have now settled and become focused and very attached to their person. Their human partner is so happy and pleased. It really does bring tears to your eyes.
Lest you think that only trainers work with the dogs—be assured that is not the case. We have dog walkers, dog groomers, and volunteers who can help do miscellaneous chores.
So, come and volunteer at Brigadoon. We could use your help, and maybe you need us!