You’ve heard about a guide dog, but what about a hearing dog?
Bundaberg resident David Eslick received a Lions hearing dog called Jake on 18 September and describes the 15-month-old terrier-cross as a lifesaver.
With the canine companion by his side, David said he knows when the doorbell rings, when the oven’s ready or when the phone’s calling.
“I really am so lucky to have him,” David said.
“Everybody takes for granted the normal things like the telephone ringing, smoke alarm going off or the microwave and oven ringing.
“Those things I can’t hear, so Jake knows these sounds and he can alert me to any of these.
“What he does is jump on me when the oven or doorbell is going and takes me to the sound.”
Jake is dog number 621 as part of the Australian Lions Hearing Dog program, which has been helping deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals around Australia since 1982.
The cost to train an Australian Lions Hearing Dog is currently $37,000, however they are given out free of charge to hearing-impaired people as a gift from Lions Clubs of Australia.
Jenifer Carter, assistant secretary at the Lions Club of Moore Park Beach said they helped sponsor and fund the dog’s delivery.
“We were lucky enough to meet Jake on Thursday and he is such a sweet little dog,” Jenifer said.
“The Lions Australia have funded this little dog, and the Moore Park Lions have also put in a certain amount of funding.
“The training is actually done in Adelaide, so Jake flew up from South Australia and had his own seat on the plane.”
“We’re extremely fortunate to be deliver and help people in this way and we’ll be checking up with Jake and David to see how they get on.”
In public an Australian Lions Hearing Dog can help a deaf or hearing-impaired person pick up on environmental sounds that they may normally miss, such as a person coming up behind them with a trolley.
As with guide dogs for the vision impaired, hearing dogs wear a special identification harness when outside and are allowed into all public spaces.
David said living with deafness can often be a lonely, isolating experience, but hearing dogs offer love, company and independence.
He said the hearing dog program was relatively unknown and he urged others to apply.
“My deafness comes about from years in the entertainment sound industry and can’t be fixed with a Cochlear implant,” David said.
“Having Jake and a hearing dog improves my quality of life.
“I can go out with confidence now. I can go out and not have to worry about missing things or relying on people to tell me things.
“It wouldn’t been possible without the Lions Club of Moore Park Beach and the Australian Lions and I’m so thankful to them.
“This is a great program that really helps people with deafness and the more people that know about it the better.”
- Other news: Windy start to school holidays