I don't normally post these sort of things, so I hope this won't come across as a solicitation. This is close to my heart and I personally have connection to the Hearing Dog Program and I try to let people know about it. I tell them they mean a great deal for the deaf because they provide them dogs that will help make their lives easier, and even save them from danger like fire. I am always happy to do what I can to help them.
As some of you know, Shelby, my Black Lab is a service dog. She is a Hearing Dog from the new non-profit Hearing Dog Program (HDP) in SF (The San Francisco SPCA terminated their original services program out of the blue. Now the program has their own place not affiliated with the SPCA). As a hearing dog, Shelby's chores include letting me know when someone rings or knocks at the door, alert me to a fire and clock alarm, as well to the phone. These are the basics that every hearing dog learns. Some people teach their dog further more, like to alert to the kitchen's timer, or when someone calls the owner's name which is actually easy to teach. So bottom line the hearing dogs purpose is to alert their deaf owners to the certain sounds. Eventually, I want to teach her some tricks. Grin.
Anyhow, I've received an email from the hearing dog trainer at the HDP (she helps me training Shelby) telling me that they need more funds for the next few weeks. They are having a graduation ceremony in Fremont, CA next month for the hearing dogs to officially become hearing dogs (right now they are called dogs in training). They get the orange vests (same vests as the guide dogs for the blind, except that theirs are blue). I'd like to post a plea on their behalf, to help them with the donations and the fundraisers for the next few weeks. I owe them that. After my previous hearing dog, Bodie, was killed last year in October, I was left with out a hearing dog for several months. Then a few months later, the HDP brought me Shelby. My new Hearing dog. If not for them, I'd be without a new service dog. So they have been a true blessing for me. I've known for years since my volunteer days back during the late 90's. I can guarantee you that they truly invest their time in the dogs and the program. It's not easy when your organization is a struggling small non-profit. They do the best they can for providing services for those who need them. Their determination to re-establish the program independently after it was shut down by the SPCA took much of their time and efforts. Also, one of the trainers is even hard of hearing herself and a pioneer.
If you are interested, you can contact them via their website even if you don't want to donate. You can ask them questions if you know someone who needs a Hearing Dog. Hearing Dog Programs are not common in the US
The HDP official site:
Hearing Dog Program - Donations
Hearing Dog Program Main Page
BTW, the dog in the picture at the HDP looks a lot like Shelby, but I don't believe it's her. Shelby was much bigger when I got her. She was raised by foster parents when she was little.
September 21, 2009