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January’s Zoom coffee morning presentation on Hearing Dogs was fascinating, highly enjoyable and inspiring. I am guessing that most of the audience were, like me, ignorant of the role a dog can play in the life of someone who is hard of hearing. What do they do?
What they do is change lives. Margo told of her own experiences. After having to give up work because of her deteriorating hearing, she sometimes felt like retreating inside, closing all doors to the outside world. As she put it, ‘My hearing dog opened those doors.’ A hearing dog dispels the sense of isolation deaf people often feel. They provide companionship. They boost a deaf person’s confidence, enabling them to take part in the world outside.
We heard with fascination how the charity Hearing Dogs for the Deaf trains the dogs from puppyhood. Over a period of 18 months they learn how to appropriately alert a person to important sounds, such as door bells, the telephone, text alerts, timers and fire alarms.
The charity has centres in Yorkshire and Buckinghamshire but their clients are spread across the entire UK. Their success rate in matching dogs and humans is 97%. Any of us can receive a dog, even if we live in a flat, in a busy city centre or have little money. Anyone can support the charity by sponsoring a dog (hearingdogs.org.uk). I feel certain that after this inspiring talk many of the listeners will have done just that. Karen Mahony
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