Ollie Edlington, 6, is one of the hairiest members of the hospice team. Here’s his profile as part of our series looking at our staff and volunteer heroes.
Position: Dog Ambassador with the Nelson Tasman Hospice. Jacinda had Paddles, the hospice has me – although I haven’t got my own Twitter account yet.
Breed: Beardie/labrador crossed with either Newfoundland or Irish Wolfhound – the jury is still out on this. This has led to some social issues.
How long have you been in the role?
I’ve been in the role since Mum first brought me to work when I was just four months old. That’s puppy labour for you, right there.
What’s a work day like for you?
Well, it’s a pretty rough start to the day to be honest. It’s hard getting my mum Tracey out of bed so we can hit the road to my happy place. Mum is PA to the top dog in the organisation, Frans Dellebeke. Once here I’m right into making people feel welcome as only dogs know how. When it’s quiet, I might grab the odd wee nap with my best mate Cuddles when no-one’s looking. I like to think I bring something to the table – although I have to admit I’m better at taking things off the table, if you know what I mean.
What is something people don’t know about your work?
My motivational speeches. Unfortunately, they aren’t always appreciated so I often get told to be quiet.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I like to spend time with the family, chasing sticks and balls. Just your average day really. Then I like to curl up on the sofa with a couple of carrots to watch some quality TV. Well, if you call Married At First Sight quality. My favourite programme is Dog Squad. If I hadn’t been poached by the hospice I could see myself hunting down the bad guys.
What do you find rewarding about your role?
People say to me that my work must be really hard, but I love it. As the community nurse Jamie so eloquently put it, `the relationships I can build with people are really special’. I know I can sometimes be annoying but I’m working on my self awareness. I’ve learned to pause for thought before rushing headlong into something I may later regret.
What frustrates you?
I’m still waiting for pay equity as I’m on way less than the minimum wage. The phrase ‘a dog’s life’ is so apt in my case.
What is so special about the Nelson Tasman Hospice?
It’s a place where a patient and their family are the number one priority. For me, it’s home away from home.
Any final message?
Please dig deep for the fundraising campaign, especially as I want my own spot in the new building. I tried to change the slogan to A New Home for Ollie but Mum says it’s not all about me. Frankly, I couldn’t imagine the new hospice without me.
A New Home for Hospice
The Nelson Tasman Hospice is building a new facility in Stoke and is asking for the community’s help to fundraise $2.5 million of the $11.5m project. To donate, visit www.nelsonhospice.org.nz/donate