Nicola Willis is profoundly deaf and decided to apply for a hearing dog. She already had a 14-month-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Lye, so she applied to have Lye assessed by Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. After her training, Nicola's life changed dramatically. "When I became deaf, I withdrew into myself; became depressed and lost all confidence," she explains. Having Lye trained as a Hearing Dog helped to lift her out of her depression and gave her a new found independence.
While Nicola was recovering from knee surgery and using crutches, she and Lye went out shopping. While taking a shortcut through an alley, she fell over. As she lay on the cold ground, scared and in pain, Lye ran off. This upset her even more because she thought someone would steal the cute little hearing dog. Moments later, not only did Lye return, but she brought help with her. The rescuer said that the dog had run up to him on the main street and had grabbed him by the pant leg. Seeing her burgundy Hearing Dog coat, he thought the little gal was trying to tell him something, so he followed. It also turned out that the man was a nurse, so Lye picked well.
On another occasion while Nicola was sleeping, she was awakened by Lye scrabbling at her chest. Thinking the dog wanted to go outside; she tried to sit up in bed but was pulled back down by her trusted companion. Thinking this behavior was strange; she reached for her hearing aids and put them in. Hearing noises downstairs, she realized that there were intruders in her home. "I panicked and didn't know what to do," she said, "but Lye just looked at me and told me in her own way that she would not let any harm come to me or my girls. She then made enough noise to scare the burglars off."
For her dedication to her owner, Lye was named May's Hearing Dog of the Month by Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. "She is my ears and she has given me back my confidence and courage," says Nicola.