Yve Robinson has spent 36 years volunteering with dog clubs between Sydney and Narooma.
Her career began as a mother to four children who desperately wanted a dog, and school holidays.
There was a pet shop close to where we lived in Sydney and I succumbed,” Yve said.
“It was a beagle-cross, which we called Champ and it cost $2.”
That dog was not the most well behaved of pups and Yve complained of its propensity to pull clothes off the line to a fellow volunteer while working the school canteen.
“It was being really very difficult and she said that I should bring him to her dog club, and that’s how it all started,” Yve said.
Despite the dog having been bought for the children, it was on Yve to take the pup to training.
“Children weren’t allowed, so I took him along and it all just sort of progressed from there,” she said.
Yve laughs when she recalls that she, “didn’t particularly enjoy it” at the start.
“But then I started to progress, and I got on the committee and so it goes,” she said.
Yve describes herself as a volunteer – “I’ve volunteered all my life” – who became a lover of dogs, versus the general rule of thumb that says dog club devotees are usually canine-lovers turned volunteers.
I just think they’re lovely, it’s a terrible thing to say but dogs are nicer than people.
Yve Robinson, Narooma Dog Training Club
In 2015 she won the national Susan Wilkins Award from the Australian Pet Dog Trainers Association and Yve has been nominated for several Australia Day awards and senior citizen achievements for her community work.
“These things just grow on you, you don’t ask for them they just happen,” she said.
Yve’s motivation is a simple one: “I just think they’re lovely, it’s a terrible thing to say but dogs are nicer than people,” she said.
Yve and her family moved to the area so that she could retire, instead she decided to start the Narooma Dog Training Club.
“I still haven’t retired,” she said.
That was more than ten years ago and today she is the chief instructor of the Narooma Dog Training Club, a role that involves the organisation of instructors into which classes they are going to take, ensuring that the instructors are teaching the correct level for their class, and the paperwork that comes at competition time.
In June 2016, when strength of numbers afforded the opportunity to form a new branch in the shire, Narooma Dog Training Club was aligned with the Eurobodalla branch of Animal Welfare League (AWL).
This relationship of welfare and education resulted in many years of successful delivery of AWL services to shire residents.
These days the NSW Narooma Dog Training Club branch of the AWL stands alone – a unique, new branch in the NSW AWL family.
For Yve, there have been many courses over the years with what used to be the Canine Council and is now Dogs NSW.
“I’ve been to I don’t know how many lectures over the years and I belong to the Pet Dog Association Australia,” she said.
She is a well known and loved face at retirement homes IRT and Estia for her popular Pets as Therapy program, which unfortunately is on pause at the moment because Yve has had to retire her border collie Tilley.
“I think she’s got dementia,“ she said.
”I still go and I play the organ, but she is too old now.”
Of her natural affinity with dogs, Yve believes it is her voice.
“I can’t say I’ve got any sort of talent, no more than anybody else, but dogs do like me,” she said.
Her daughter, Carol Hellmers says dogs feel comfortable around her mother.
“They can sense that they are safe with her,” she said.
“She is very calm and they don’t feel threatened around her.
“It really is something that’s quite special and unique to Yve,” Ms Hellmers said.
Know someone showing grey grit or grace? Nominations to [email protected]