Volunteers needed in Cambridgeshire to train puppies to become hearing dogs

PUBLISHED: 11:54 17 January 2018 | UPDATED: 11:54 17 January 2018

Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. Hebe is one of the pups in training. PHOTO: Paul Wilkinson

Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. Hebe is one of the pups in training. PHOTO: Paul Wilkinson

Copyright (c) Paul Wilkinson 2016

A dog charity is looking for volunteers to help train puppies to become the ears, and a best friend, for people with hearing difficulties.

Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. Jenny Greaves and Theo. PHOTO: Paul Wilkinson Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. Jenny Greaves and Theo. PHOTO: Paul Wilkinson

Hearing Dogs for Deaf People are looking for animal lovers to help train adorable VIPs, very important puppies, on their path to becoming fully-fledged hearing dogs.

One in six people in the UK suffer with some form of hearing loss and the effects can be devastating.

Victoria Leedham, volunteering manager at Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, said: “The start of the New Year is a magical time for the volunteering team. It’s a time when people think about new starts, new challenges, new opportunities.

“What better way to start than by joining our Hearing Dogs family and help change the lives of people with hearing loss.

“Being a puppy socialiser is an incredibly rewarding and satisfying experience; these very special volunteers are fundamental to what we do.

“Quite simply, Hearing Dogs would not exist without them.

“It’s also a fantastic opportunity to learn or improve your dog-training skills and meet lots of new friends along the way!”

Losing hearing often means a lack of independence, loss of confidence, reduced self-esteem and feelings of anxiety which often lead to loneliness, isolation and often depression, she said.

However, fully qualified hearing dogs provide life-changing independence and confidence for recipients, as well as being trained to alert deaf people to important sounds and danger signals such as the doorbell, telephone and smoke alarm.

As part of its ‘New Year, New You’ campaign, the charity is searching for dog lovers interested in helping to socialise a puppy for around 14 months.

Volunteers receive full support and guidance and learn to teach their puppy basic obedience skills.

Milla Jokinen, a volunteer for four years, said: “We decided to become volunteers as my youngest child was starting university and we had sadly lost our own dog the previous year.

“I, myself, had a hip operation and, suffering from other joint problems, was unable to return to work. I needed something to do that felt worthwhile. This seemed perfect.

“It’s been so good to see how important and life changing these amazing dogs can be.”

• Puppy volunteers aren’t required to have previous experience. They must be over 18. Visit their website or mail volunteer@hearingdogs.org.uk.

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