Dogs for Deaf People is a national charity that selects as many dogs as they can
for training from rescue centres around the UK. These are a few of the rags to
riches dogs that were strays, or abandoned as puppies, but now work as hearing
dogs making a real difference to their deaf owners' lives.
Little terrier cross Ceri was selected by Hearing Dogs
a few years ago along with her sister.
Both had been residents at the Dogs' Trust kennels at Bridgend in Wales when an
assessor spotted their potential and they began their journey to becoming working
hearing dog. Ceri completed all the training and was placed with profoundly deaf
Barbara Bird in Norfolk in May 2001. Since then the pair have been inseparable.
Barbara takes up the story:
was taken from the Dogs Trust in Wales by Hearing Dogs when she was a tiny puppy.
Even now, I find it hard to realise what a very important event that was to prove
for Ceri and me.
training, when I took Ceri home, I was amazed at the instant difference Ceri made
to everything. My husband had died earlier that year and my loss was compounded
by the fact that he had always been "my ears". I had gone from being
a sociable, chatty sort of person to spending too much time hiding away from life.
didn't know if the phone rang or someone was at the door and I frequently forgot
food was cooking in the oven and set the smoke alarm off. I couldn't hear it,
of course, and was so embarrassed to see a neighbour at the window to tell me
what was happening. I had even stopped getting up at my normal time - what was
the point? Ceri soon changed all of this!
out for a walk with Ceri, she made friends both canine and human for both of us
and turned it into something which has become a daily social occasion. Before
Ceri came, I was rapidly losing my independence and never strayed far from the
phone, but now I can go where I please in the certain knowledge that my helpmate
will come and tell me whenever there is a sound I can't hear. She has literally
turned my life round. Without Ceri I would not have the confidence to venture
out at night. She truly has revolutionised my way of life.
presence when we are out and about alerts others to my deafness and this in turn
is very helpful as deafness is invisible and that makes it hard to communicate.
"She is a credit to Hearing Dogs, her socialisers and the lady who left a
bequest in her will to sponsor a hearing dog. This was a most precious gift. I
am eternally grateful fo everyone who made this partnership possible but especially
to Ceri who has endeared herself to me in so many ways. I owe my present independence
and enjoyment of life to her and can't imagine how things would have been without