What a beautiful story and partnership. Read the full article here.
Born Deaf, 36-year-old Matthew found himself in a terrifying situation – but thanks to his brave hearing dog Joe he came out unscathed. Read why Matthew and Joe are our Partnership of the Month.
“I heard about Hearing Dogs at the local job centre where a lady there was an advisor and had a hearing dog herself. The dog was wearing the burgundy jacket and meeting them made me really think about applying.
“I spoke to my sister who encouraged me to apply. She called them and got me an application and I went from there! I was on the waiting list for about two year-and-a-half years before I was matched to my first hearing dog – my beloved black Labrador Simba.
“Simba sadly passed away in July 2014 aged 14 years and few months old. He had an excellent life with me and the family – even going to 5 star hotels and being served out of crystal bowls for his water and food! He had that fantastic black jet glossy coat with the adorable wet nose. When he retired, my current hearing dog Joe was placed into the family in January 2013.
“Joe is a handsome beautiful Golden Retriever. He was very understanding and took a step back from working whilst Simba was around. Joe allowed Simba to still be top dog before he started to get old and slow down more. They both worked to the sounds until sadly, Simba went deaf completely.
“When Simba died, Joe mourned with me and my partner. Soon he grew confident that it was time for him to take over the ropes and start being my ears. Joe has learnt so much from Simba and is very patient and loving.
“One day I was in the kitchen and must have knocked the toaster colour dial. I put bread in and went out to water the garden forgetting about the toast. My loyal ears leapt to the rescue and ran out into the garden, alerted me and I said what is it? The smoke alarm was going off so he dropped to the ground and told me danger! I looked at kitchen window and saw smoke so I ran in and popped the toast out. I couldn’t believe it! It was then when I knew the bond of me trusting him had stepped up to another level.
“But the biggest heroic act Joe has ever done was in September of this year. One night at around 8.30pm I went to go and pick my partner up. I reversed my car into a parking space with bushes at the back of it.
“Joe was in the boot of my estate car. I must have been waiting five minutes when all of a sudden Joe started growling. It panicked me so I immediately pressed the lock button on my car. In a matter seconds, a man jumped out of the bushes, ran to my side and tried frantically to open the door. What he didn’t anticipate for was a big blonde Golden Retriever jumping from boot into the back seat barking his head off. He was so loud and I was shocked he even had a voice on him as he never growls or barks at all.
“The man was so shocked he ran off. I was extremely frightened and sped out of the car park so quickly. It dawned on me that if Joe hadn’t been there that man would have got into the car.
“This was something I never expected from my hearing dog. I was so proud of him. Since then, my life changed completely because if I am home alone, I am so confident I deliberately leave my hearing aids out. I know that Joe will always be listening for me and will alert me to any sounds he is trained to – plus he will think on his feet and alert me to any other sound with that beautiful head tilt he does. He is my loyal ears and protector.
“I am so much more confident when I am out and about with Joe as I know he is there to alert me. He faithfully follows me everywhere at home and even into the garden. My family have grown to love his fantastic laid back personality. He loves his country walks and going out in the car and fits into the family lifestyle very well. I love showing Joe off in his jacket because I still think he is adorable!
“Hearing Dogs for Deaf People have been amazing to me since 2000 when Simba was born. I am pleased to have a good working relationship and know I can call on Hearing Dogs for any question or support with Joe. My partnership instructor for the last eight years Christina has been fantastic to me – she is very supportive and encouraging.
“Having two hearing dogs in my life has given me the strength to carry on surviving in the hearing world. They have brought me out of the darkness and into a world of wonderful people who come up to me and take the time to ask questions about my beautiful dog.”