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by Maxine Clare
My clever Cocker Spaniel has been trained to alert me to sounds I would otherwise miss, like the doorbell, timer, and most importantly the smoke alarm.
These days I’m aware of sounds, thanks to a Cochlear Implant and Processor, but when I’m not wearing that, Walter is on full alert, listening out for all the sounds that hearing people take for granted.
But, Walter is so much more than a sound worker.
Something I’ve come across many times is “isolation,” especially for deaf people, where communication in a predominantly hearing world can be overwhelming and confusing, leaving the deaf or deafened person exhausted, excluded and feeling alone.
As a hearing person who has become deafened, I communicate on a hearing level, I can use my voice and it’s often the case that people don’t even realise I’m deaf.
Out in public, in his uniform, my loyal companion helps others realise that I’m deaf.
With a constant companion by my side, I can trust him to wake me up in case of an emergency; I’ve never slept so well and no longer need to rely on others to hear for me.
We see the changes these dogs make in their human’s lives and strive to help get as many active partnerships out there as possible.
So, next time you see a dog with a maroon coloured working jacket, take a closer look and you’ll just be able to make out the wings of these four-legged earth angels.
They really do save lives.
Thank you Maxine for sharing your beautiful pictures of Walter. Dogs are such wonderful companions - I wouldn't be without mine - a Border Terrier called Millie.
She's not a hearing dog but is great at letting me know when someone is coming up to the house or if there is a noise in the night. Like you, I have a hearing impairment.
They give us so much and ask for so little in return.
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