A Special Home Help
Children from Hethersett Woodside Infant and Nursery
School welcomed a very special home help to their school.
Odell, a Yorkshire Terrier/Poodle mix, was there with
her owner Anne Holmes to receive a cheque for £285.33 on behalf of
Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. The money was raised from collections taken
at the end of the school’s pre-Christmas events.
Odell was also accompanied by the charity’s South
Team Manager Gill Yeates. The cheque was presented during a special
assembly at the school led by Head Teacher Nicola Cushion.
The children heard how the charity will soon be
celebrating its 30th anniversary and trains dogs from puppies
to respond to specific noises and alarms in the house from door bells and
oven timers to morning alarms and smoke detectors.
“Every day sounds such as the phone ringing can be
very difficult to cope with for deaf people. We train dogs to hear for
them. The puppies spend a year getting used to everyday sounds and then
they are matched up with people,” Gill Yeates said, adding that the dogs
are trained to behave in different ways to different noises.
“Sometimes when people are deaf others can think
they are rude when they don’t respond. With one of our dogs the barriers
are often broken down,” Gill said adding that as well as being able to
respond to noises the dogs have to be friendly and enjoy being around
people. The dogs also have annual tests to ensure that they are up to the
Anne Holmes, who comes from Dereham, explained to the
youngsters that she was born deaf:
“Without hearing aids I cannot hear anything and
that’s where Odell comes in,” she said.
The decision to hold collections for the charity
following Christmas events came jointly from Mrs Cushion and staff member
Jo Adcock who has been learning sign language as a hobby.
There are currently about 12 working dogs in Norfolk,
half of which are with deaf people in the Norwich area.
The charity is always on the look out for more volunteers and fund-raisers. Anybody interested in supporting it can visit the web site at www.hearingdogs.org.uk or contact Gill Yeates at email@example.com