Cole celebration for winning team

PUBLISHED: 13:10 22 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:50 04 May 2010

PROUD MOMENT: Marion with Cole and his award.
Photo: SUPPLIED

PROUD MOMENT: Marion with Cole and his award. Photo: SUPPLIED

COCKER Spaniel Cole - named after England soccer star Ashley Cole - has proved he s a real team player. One of a litter of puppies who take their names from the World Cup side, he has gained national recognition for working to help his deaf owner Marion

COCKER Spaniel Cole - named after England soccer star Ashley Cole - has proved he's a real team player.

One of a litter of puppies who take their names from the World Cup side, he has gained national recognition for working to help his deaf owner Marion Thulborn lead a normal life.

Along with his brothers and sisters, including Becks and Owen, four-year-old Cole is alerting his owner to everyday household sounds such as the telephone and alarm clock.

Now his tireless efforts have to led to him being named runner-up in the Life-Changing Hearing Dog category of a countrywide competition run by the charity, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.

Marion and Cole travelled from their Ely home to the charity's Buckinghamshire headquarters to receive the award from BBC sports presenter Mary Rhodes.

Cole has been with Marion, 59, for three years and she nominated him for the award.

She said: "I felt Cole, like all hearing dogs, needed recognition for the quiet, reliable, devoted companionship which they give us day and night, without fail.

" Before I had Cole, I was very hard of hearing, wearing two aids and backing away from the hearing world. I was avoiding eye contact with friends and acquaintances I met when out. I didn't want to struggle with conversations. I didn't want to fail.

"Cole changed all that. People began to stop me and admire Cole, and ask me questions about him. I started to communicate with friends and strangers again.

"I gained a lot of confidence. People knew I had a hearing problem, they didn't expect first-class responses, they took more time, had a little patience and I didn't fail."

Cole was trained to alert Marion whenever the doorbell rings or the smoke alarm sounds.

"Cole works without fail alerting me to the sounds around the house," said Marion.

"He's become the paper dog and post dog but sometimes the paper and mail are a little soggy.

"Once he thought he would open the letters for me! But he never goes on strike.

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