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]

Puppy Love Art Exhibition

Round & About


Self-taught artist & pet-lover Alison Molan’s first exhibition ‘Puppy Love’ runs at the Farnham Maltings café until Thursday 23rd May

Last year, self-taught artist & pet-lover Alison Molan received a letter from Queen Camilla for her Charlie tea towel and card she sent them for the Coronation. She says: “It was amazing to be recognised by the Queen and I was thrilled to have a reply.  Needless to say, I have framed it!”  

Her first exhibition Puppy Love runs at the Farnham Maltings café until Thursday 23rd May.  “I’m excited to be able to present prints of the first 19 pup portraits I’ve painted. I want to bring joy to people’s lives and I know that these prints will make people smile.

“I paint artworks that are original, playful, quirky and fun. They are from my collection of pup art which was inspired by our family pup, a rescued Lurcher, called Parker. He was an adorable mad hound and is much missed. I painted him in a style that is an homage to Frida Kahlo, who’s powerful and colourful art is truly inspiring. My designs are based on pups of family and friends. 

“I have always been creative but, until 2022, I only created work for myself or for family and friends.  I am totally self-taught and have developed my own style through trial and error! A few years after painting Parker, my daughter now owns her own pup and commissioned me to paint another portrait. From this, Pup Goes The Easel was born. Pup Goes The Easel is an homage to the pups we love.” 

Alison has dabbled with a variety of creative endeavours, using various mediums, over her life. However, it wasn’t until her later years that she found the confidence to paint for friends and family. Encouraged by them, she founded her pup art business in the summer of 2022 and began trading in October 2022. 

She adds: “I had my paintings professionally made into gallery quality, fine-art prints, luxury cards and a variety of other gifts including personalised pup ID tags. I sell my products on my website, at markets, through independent retailers, via Etsy and at exhibitions.

“All my pups have names and have a story to tell. They are painted with love in my sunny kitchen in the beautiful Surrey hills. I hope you can sense the unique characters of each pup and that they bring a smile to your face. They have been created to bring happiness and each pup is looking forward to being welcomed into your home.

“I use acrylic paints which have a vivid and bold quality which works well with my signature style of painting. The colours I choose are deliberately striking. The accessories and adornments I include on each pup are intended to be playful and humorous. I paint on high-quality canvas and art board.

“I think the title for this exhibition is self-explanatory.  However, it is also a poignant reference to my youthful adoration of Donny Osmond! I also paint commissions for people who want to capture the distinct essence of their own pups in a painting.” 

Alison can be contacted through her website www.pupgoestheeasel.com.