Wear Orange Wednesday: Brabham SES volunteer encourages others to join

Cathryn Joyce and her dog Holly are both SES volunteers in the Canine Unit. Picture: supplied
Cathryn Joyce and her dog Holly are both SES volunteers in the Canine Unit. Picture: supplied

BRABHAM resident Cathryn Joyce is one of many SES volunteers who will be supported in the annual Wear Orange Wednesday (WOW Day) next week.

The 27-year-old litigation lawyer has been a volunteer for the SES Canine Unit for the past three years, sharing the role with her dog Holly.

One of the things that attracted her to the role in the canine unit was that she could volunteer her time without having to leave Holly at home.

She said the most important part of her role was being involved in the search response to help the families of missing people.

“Often we are at searches with the family and friends of the missing person and it is quite humbling to offer a conversation or a hug or a lick from Holly,” she said.

“My fellow canine unit team members are very important to me. It is also important to me to be part of the wider emergency services response; we have many unique challenges in WA, being so isolated and with such vast spaces, so there are many ways in which our volunteers make a difference.”

Ms Joyce said she trained each week with Holly.

Her most extreme rescue mission was a five-day search for a missing man, who was found deceased.

“I was focused on getting the job done, which for me means watching my dog very closely for ‘strikes’; when she is striking on human scent, which could be a person or an article of clothing, her body language changes,” she said.

“If she locates the source of the scent, she will return to me and indicate by barking and then takes me to the source of the scent.”

She encouraged other women to put themselves out there and volunteer.

“It is worth it for the sense of accomplishment, comradeship and humility it will give you,” she said.

“The most exciting part of the SES for me is knowing that we are training a unique skill that could one day have a profound impact on someone’s life.”

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services is encouraging the WA community to join in celebrations for Wear Orange Wednesday and wear a splash of orange on May 10 to show support to the 2000 volunteers who give up their time to respond to rescue missions.

For more information about WOW Day visit http://www.wearorangewednesday.com.au.