Carole Tweedy, of Berkshire, England, loves her Hearing Dog, King. Tweedy is profoundly deaf and received the little Cocker Spaniel/Havanese mix six years ago from Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. King alerts her to household sounds, signals her to dangers and even comforts her bed-ridden, elderly father.
"When my father was ill and in a lot of pain, King used to gently jump on his bed and lie with him," explains Tweedy. "One night, at three o'clock in the morning King jumped on my bed to wake me up. I immediately knew something was wrong and went to check on my father. He had fallen out of bed and was lying on the floor. He had been calling me and of course I couldn't hear so King had come to fetch me."
Since King came into her life, Tweedy no long suffers from bouts of depression. The two travel everywhere together and have even begun giving Hearing Dog presentation around the local area. "King loves meeting people and lapping up the attention. He has even accompanied me on an airplane a few times! Everyone knows King in Wokingham (in Berkshire, England) and they stop to talk to him and then me. He has given me confidence and continues to be a faithful and invaluable help to me."
Sadly, Tweedy's father passed away. King was so devoted to her father that the little dog had to be persuaded to leave his bedside. "At my father's funeral service I was giving a tribute in British Sign Language; I stopped half way through and looked at King and signed 'Daddy's gone'; King looked around and tried to find him, whining. The whole congregation was moved to tears."
Hearing Dogs for Deaf People was launched at the Crufts Dog Show back in 1982. Since then, the organization continues to train dogs to alert deaf people to specific sounds, whether in the home, workplace or public building. To date, more than 1,500 hearing dogs have been placed throughout England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands. These working dogs are easily recognizable by their distinctive burgundy jacket and lead slips.