Puppy power! Volunteer for Hearing Dogs 

Round & About

Hearing dogs support their deaf partners by giving them invaluable practical and emotional support. But the charity can only train these amazing dogs with the help of its dedicated volunteer puppy trainers. Could you help train a pup and change someone’s life?  

Many deaf people miss out on vital sounds such as smoke alarms, alarm clocks and even baby monitors. Hearing dogs not only alert people to these sounds, they also provide unwavering love and companionship.

Hearing Dogs for Deaf People’s work is only made possible thanks to its network of volunteer puppy trainers who care for and train hearing dog puppies in their own home.

Sue Davis, from Bledlow (above), became a volunteer trainer last August. “We live close to Hearing Dogs’ training centre in Saunderton, so I know of the charity and the many wonderful ways it supports deaf people”, she says.

“After losing our family dogs, we missed having a dog around the house, so applying for a volunteering role that involved spending time with puppies, while helping make a difference, seemed a no-brainer. Our first house guest was lovely cockerpoo Freddie who impressed our whole family with his nature and impeccable manners. Afterwards we had Henry, an eight-week old cockerpoo. It was so rewarding helping him learn about his new world.

“I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to develop my own understanding of dog behaviour and effective training. I like to learn! And knowing that the puppies will go on to change the life of a deaf person is so rewarding.”

Teenager Zach Allen from Chalfont St Peter was partnered with hearing dogs Echo nine years ago. Before Echo, Zach struggled to get to sleep every night. His mum Kirsty explains: “Zach said that if he closed his eyes without his hearing aids in, he might not see or hear a burglar. He couldn’t hear us moving around the house, so he felt alone in the dark.

“He started going to bed with his hearing aids in. Then he wanted music on. Then a light. Then he wanted someone with him in his room. Soon he began to experience night terrors. Every day felt like a fight for survival. It affected everything, day in, day out. But then everything changed. And I do mean everything. Because Echo the hearing dog came into our lives.

“That night, out went the hearing aids, the music and the lights. Zach didn’t need them. He said, ‘Echo will keep me safe’, and that was the end of that! Zach is now 16 and about to sit his GCSEs. Prior to Echo’s arrival this would never have been possible as Zach wasn’t getting enough sleep to concentrate in a classroom.

“Zach doesn’t remember much about life without Echo, but we do. We remember the huge impact on our whole family and the immense confidence Echo has given him.”

Hearing Dogs is urgently looking for a volunteer puppy trainers in Buckinghamshire to train the next generation of hearing dogs. No experience is needed, just plenty of time and boundless love to give to an adorable pup. To find out more, visit hearingdogs.org.uk/volunteer, call 01844 348129, or email [email protected]