Write up - 2013 - Hearing Dogs for the Deaf



Derek Williams, one of our band of Observers, offered to talk to us on Hearing Dogs.  Derek has a West Highland Terrier called Dundee who is now 8 years old and has been his pal since a puppy.  Normally, the Charity provides the dog, but as Derek had already made arrangements to purchase a puppy, he persuaded them to train his own dog.  Dundee had to leave Derek for 4 months to be trained and was found to be an ideal candidate.

Hearing Dogs for Deaf People was launched at Crufts in 1982 and became a Charity in 1986.  It is now a world-leader in training hearing dogs to alert deaf recipients to important sounds and danger signals.  The first dog, Favour, was chosen from the National Canine Defence League rescue centre.  At one point the Charity used abandoned dogs.  However, it eventually found that the unknown trauma in their previous life could affect them, so now breed their own.  Since its inception 30 years ago, it has become a centre of excellence in training hearing dogs and has created over 1,600 life-changing partnerships.

Since 1992 Princess Anne has been their Patron following an informal visit to Lewknor.  Hearing Dogs is not funded by the Government (no surprise there, then) but is funded entirely on donations.

Derek talked at length about his experiences with Dundee and how dull his life would be without him.  After some technical difficulty, sorted out by the keen attention of Janet Marlborough, we enjoyed a DVD on the training of the dogs.  There is a very informative website http://www.hearingdogs.org.uk if you would like to find out more.


Our thanks to Derek and Dundee for a very enjoyable and informative evening.



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