January 22, 2010

A Plea From Me

So, I was given bad news about the new HDP (Hearing Dog Program). They have little money to last only till April. As a non-profit organization they survive on donations only. They haven't been around for very long. It has been very difficult since the original program at the SPCA facility was suddenly shut down by the SFSPCA. It took several months before the people who worked at the former defunct program were able to establish their own non-profit independent program. They have worked very hard to make it happen.

As far as I know, the new HDP is the only program that services and focus solely on the deaf community anywhere in SF Bay Area and nearby towns. Actually, I believe (but could be wrong) that they are even the only one ( that serve the deaf) in North and Central California. I don't know anything about South California. The HDP have had deaf owners coming from places such as Reno, Las Vegas, Santa Cruz, and even Hawaii. If the program won't be able to survive, it will affect many potential deaf owners, who will be left without a hearing dog. This is just what happened when the original program was eliminated a few days short from celebrating its 30 years at the SPCA.

The newly established HDP recently had their first graduation ceremony class for the dogs that finished their training. My new dog was among them. Shelby is now officially a Hearing Dog.

See, these special dogs are life savers since they can alert the deaf person to smoke alarm and fire. They can do other things too to assist their new deaf owners. That what makes these dogs special, and that's why it's important that keep the program running.

From what I've heard there are even very few programs specifically for hearing dogs in the US. I saw a list somewhere a few years ago. Truth is, not many people are even aware that there are such dogs. I've encountered people who didn't want me to go into their stores or the mall because of their lack of awareness about these dogs. I ended up explaining to them what a hearing dog is. In one case, I had a server in a restaurant refusing to let me in with the dog. I had her boss coming by. He knew exactly what a hearing dog is and told her to let me in. I was actually surprised that he knew. He explained it all to her.

You know, I don't like to solicit. It's not my thing but this is a special cause for me. I have known the dog trainers for a long time, and very much want them to survive. They contribute to the deaf community greatly even though they don't have a lot of money and I appreciate what they do. It makes me sad to see them struggling and trying so hard to stay alive in order to help the people who need the special dogs. If it wasn't for them, I would have never met my past and present service dogs.

If you do wish to help them, just either send them a check or use Paypal. Thank you so much for reading this even if you can't help. After all, good thoughts always count too. Always!


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