My first step in sponsoring a hearing dog poodle pupOctober 21, 2016
For someone who’s deaf
Let me be frank about a couple of realities . . . I love poodles and I’m half deaf. The poodle thing won’t need explaining to anyone who has ever owned one (Churchill, Livingstone and Schopenhauer were all in the club) but the hearing loss is a result of having suffered from Ménière’s syndrome. Although the really nasty side of the condition has completely abated it has left me with no functional hearing in my right ear. Very luckily the left is still pretty sharp but this situation has motivated a real sympathy for those with no hearing at all.
Years ago I visited a deaf person with a hearing dog, a poodle. I was between dogs and enjoyed meeting the little chap a lot but my lasting memory of the day was the extraordinary partnership between them both. The human life had been completely transformed by the remarkable skills of the dog and the dog was loved to bits. It was a beautiful relationship!
Last year I was re-acquainted with the Hearing Dogs for Deaf People charity at a fundraising walk in the New Forest. I went with Itchy and Scratchy and we had a good morning, they were well behaved for a change, and before I left I had an idea. I wanted to follow the whole process of choosing, training and placing a hearing dog, and of course it would have to be a poodle!
And now I’m very pleased to say it’s happening.
Mum Tandy and her 5 pups
I recently went to meet a new litter of five puppies, all of which will hopefully be future hearing dogs. The owner is a lady who coincidentally suffers from Ménière’s, Itch and Scratch came too (and were relatively well behaved) and it was great. The pups were delightful, their mum was just as keen to lick my face clean as my boys and it was the perfect start to this journey.
It’s too early to pick which one of the five will be ‘the one’ but I’ve been thinking about names . . . ‘Rascal’ being my current favourite. Then he will be socialised, hopefully near Southampton so we can meet regularly before the training begins.
I’m very excited about all this and hope you’ll follow the process all the way through with me.
Umm ‘Rascal’ . . . its growing on me !
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