Betty :: Hearing Dog

Betty

Betty is a beautiful Golden Retriever and is partnered with Wendy Martin. Wendy writes:

Only a deaf person with a love of dogs could possibly understand why I sobbed after my information day at the Grange 6 years ago. My then 17 year old son who’d accompanied me, asked why I was crying and I had to calm myself down to explain to him the emotion I felt when I realised how much one of these fantastic Hearing Dogs could change my life for the better.

The start of a long and patient journey began as I made my application. Once I had completed a home assessment and Hearing Dogs had verified my deafness with my GP and my latest audiogram, I was invited along to spend a day and night at the centre in Saunderton. (Staff and accommodation plus the wonderful home cooked meals really helped me feel at home). Just prior to leaving for home, I was elated when they told me “we’re delighted to say you are a suitable candidate and will now be placed on the waiting list, you will however, have to be patient as the list is quite long!” Well, anyone who knows me would realise how difficult being patient is. But knowing the benefits a Hearing Dog of my own would make to my life, I was totally prepared for the wait.

I didn’t sit around idle though, I set about organising fundraising events locally (Paws for Coffee, Bring & Buy etc) and raised almost £1,000 which I thoroughly enjoyed, meeting some great dog lovers along the way.

When the day came where I was asked to visit the centre as they thought they had found a suitable dog for me, I sobbed and told my family Christmas had come early for me that year (this was 2013).

Well, I can tell you I was there so early (I didn’t want a flat tyre or traffic problems to prevent me arriving on time and hadn’t slept since I’d received news that they wanted to see me) and upon parking my car and having a very leisurely walk round in anticipation of meeting (possibly) my very own Hearing Dog accompanied by my daughter Rachel, we both started looking round to see who might be first to spot the dog who would almost certainly change my life!

Neither of us saw her. First we were introduced to the dog’s trainer – Suzanne. She went through some basics whilst I tried very hard to concentrate on but naturally, my mind was elsewhere. I just wanted to meet the dog.

After what seemed like hours but was probably only an hour she left us in our room and went to the kennels, coming back to us with what I can only describe as the most beautiful, bouncy goldie (golden retriever) I had ever seen. Both Rachel and I fell instantly for this wonderful creature…….

So June 2013 will always be a high for me as finally Betty was trained for my specific needs and handed over to my care. The whole family adore her but it hasn’t been easy. Betty is very strong willed and intelligent but finally in June this year (2014) we gained our Partnership Qualification. She has totally transformed my life. No more do I have to ask my husband to set his alarm clock and wake me up. Betty does this for me. She does all the other sound work too like door bell, phone, cooker timer and smoke alarm and I have also taught her to alert me when my whistling kettle in our caravan sounds.

She’s now 3 yrs old and life without her certainly wouldn’t be the same. She comes to church with me and to work where my elderly clients enjoy her company probably more so than mine really.

Fundraising is still a big part of my life as it costs around £45,000 to train and support a Hearing Dog throughout its life and I am anxious to give something back in recognition of my appreciation and to help someone else benefit from these amazing dogs.

Thank you Hearing Dogs for Deaf People – for giving me back my life.

Cope :: Hearing Dog

Cope is a Labrador x Retriever and was donated to Hearing Dogs for Deaf People by the Guide Dogs for the Blind charity. He was too excitable to make a Guide Dog but makes the perfect Hearing Dog and is partnered with MK resident Brenda Campbell.

He was initially trained in the Yorkshire centre and brought down to The Grange last November where he met Brenda. Since that meeting Brenda’s life has changed for the better and he gives her a great deal of comfort and security. Cope alerts her to the doorbell, her mobile phone, the all important fire and smoke alarm and he also makes the perfect alarm clock, waking her up each morning. Plus he lets Brenda know when her husband is calling her. When out shopping people can easily see Brenda is deaf now – this is a very important part of having a hearing dog as deaf people can often be mistaken for being rude when actually they just haven’t heard something.

Brenda works with deaf children and Cope is very popular amongst the children. He alerts Brenda to the school bell and also tells her when other teachers are calling her.

Larrie :: Hearing Dog

Larrie is a Chinese Crested Dog and is partnered with MK resident Doreen Monk. Doreen writes:

I was surprised to be told after not more than twelve months wait that The Grange had a dog for me, I was expecting to have a two year wait so I was pleased, I do not show my feelings very much but was quietly excited. He came to stay one night with me to see how we would get on and I liked him immediately.

Accordingly I went to stay at the Grange for five days for MY training, It was a very nice stay, I was on my own but the couple who were next door were very nice neighbours, Mark and Joan have a guide dog for the blind as Joan has Ushers, they were there to meet up with a nice black Labrador for Mark. Meals at The Grange were very nice and I was made very welcome, with training every day on sound work and information on Larrie’s needs.

Sarah, Larrie’s trainer took me in hand whilst there and is just on the end of the internet or the mobile phone for any problems I may have. I brought Larrie home on the Friday and we settled down to get to know each other. He is a very determined little dog, I have to be firm with him but I love him to bits. He is very attractive after his morning wash and brush up but gets really filthy after a run in the field near my home so has had a few baths! He is a Chinese Crested Powder Puff one of those with fluffy fur and butterfly ears, just the right size for me, walks by my side and is usually very obedient.

I must remember that he is a working dog, trained to tell me about sounds in the home and he does, not always, but he is improving and it is up to me to keep him working but even more importantly, to me he is a companion and very affectionate and I am glad that I have him.

Larrie passed his final with flying colours in March 2009 and is now a fully fledged hearing dog. Doreen writes:

I am very proud of him, he seems to know he has done something good and it is very easy to see a change in him, he trots behind me following me on the paths. We went on holiday a week or so ago, on a Warners Break, near Lowestoft, I have been there before without Larrie and it is a big difference when you have a dog with his distinctive burgundy coat. People are ready to talk to you and I was not lonely this time, many people tried guessing his breed and I was proud to say that he was a donated pedigree Chinese Crested Powder Puff (what a name) and “no” he was not half a Yorky but “yes” he was a good companion for me ! As well as being my ears in many ways.

Iris :: Hearing Dog

Iris

Iris is a gorgeous cockerpoo (poodle x cocker spaniel), bred and born at the Hearing Dogs Headquarters, The Grange. This cross breed is a popular choice for Hearing Dogs because they do not moult.

She is a Hearing Dog partnered with deaf MK resident, Jane Minard and they travel to work together to London, where Iris is very popular with Jane’s work colleagues.

Jane says that Iris is a very clever and crafty dog, she knows in advance what is going to happen and she is particularly quick in alerting Jane to the smoke alarm. Her favourite toy is a tennis ball, which she always carries in her mouth when she’s not working. She is particularly friendly and affectionate.

Gompa :: Hearing Dog

Stan and Gompa

Stan and Gompa have been partners since 2006. Stan is profoundly deaf and wears a hearing aid.

Gompa came over from Finland with his mother, who is also a Hearing Dog. He was chosen because of his quick responses to noises and has been trained to alert Stan to sounds such as: the telephone, cooker timer, alarm clock, smoke alarm and doorbell. He will also alert Stan when someone wants him.

When any of the sounds go off, Gompa puts his paw on Stan and Stan asks “What is it?”. Gompa will then lead Stan to the source of the sound. However, if it is the smoke alarm, instead of leading Stan to the source, Gompa lies down, which means danger.

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