Ria, or Gloria as she was originally known, had a very sad start to her life.
As a tiny eight-week-old puppy she was found wandering the streets of Burford
in Oxfordshire on New Year's Eve. She was taken to The Blue Cross Animal Centre,
where she was selected by Hearing Dogs.
From then on her life became a bit of a fairy tale. She went to live with a volunteer
socialiser for seven months, after which she undertook four months' soundwork
training. It was at the end of that training, when she went home with her deaf
owner, that she was announced as the 1000th hearing dog to be placed with a deaf
Little Ria had many articles written about her, and she posed for lots of photographs,
which appeared in local newspapers, Hearing Dogs' magazine and The Blue Cross
The final accolade happened towards the end of 2004 when she received Royal approval.
She was introduced to Hearing Dogs' patron HRH The Princess Royal who spent several
minutes making a fuss of her. For a small mongrel that was once a stray, Ria is
now a very famous little dog who represents a major achievement in Hearing Dogs'
2004 little mongrel Lucy was found wandering the streets by two members of the
They handed her into a police station and came under the care of the Hereford
and Worcester Animal Rescue. She was lucky enough to be taken in by a fosterer,
who saw the potential in Lucy and alerted Hearing Dogs.
Lucy was duly selected, and after completing her socialisation and soundwork training,
she was placed with a deaf lady in Hertfordshire in October.
Dogs started making regular trips across the Irish Sea to both Northern and Southern
Ireland to try and source rescue dogs, it proved a lucky break for one young Labrador.
Paddy was found tied to a fence in an emaciated state, and was taken to a dog
pound in Northern Ireland. It was there that Hearing Dogs found him, and brought
him back over the water to start his new life as an assistance dog.
He spent six months socialising then the four months learning how to respond to
household sounds. He is now living with his deaf recipient in Merseyside, and
is an invaluable companion and assistant.
If you feel you can help or would like to know more, contact details and further
information are on the Hearing Dogs for Deaf People website: www.hearing-dogs.co.uk.