The star-studded event – which is now sold out – will see celebrities and supporters of the Charity converge for a night of truly inspirational and moving stories from hearing dog recipients across the UK.
Below is an introduction to all of this year’s finalists. They tell us in their own words just how their hearing dog has changed their life.
Life-changing Hearing Dog of the Year
Awarded to the hearing dog that has made an outstanding contribution to the life of their recipient and brought them confidence, independence and freedom.
Recipient: Sue Churchyard (43), Burgess Hill, West Sussex
Sue says; “I was a single mum with two young sons. They knew their mummy couldn't hear. They talked to people on the phone when I struggled to understand. All that stopped when they went to school, leaving me isolated in this very quiet world. Waiting for the gas man, with the long appointment windows meant I had to sit and watch the door. In 2010, Jasmine came into our home and my life suddenly felt so complete. Because of Jasmine I am so much happier and confident. I feel like a missing piece of the puzzle has been put back in place.”
Breed: Havanese cross Cavalier
Recipient: Anne Barrick (53), Leeds
Anne says: “Whenever I went to social outings and meetings I felt invisible and, not being able to hear, I couldn’t join in. I was diagnosed with cancer and became very depressed. Baz has transformed my life. Now I am smiling again and living life to the full with hope for the future and joy in my heart. Baz has helped me gain confidence at home, in the park and when out shopping. When we are out in public, people see Baz’s burgundy coat and take time to help me. I couldn’t be without Baz. I no longer feel alone. He means the world to me.”
Recipient: Simon Moore (26), Norwich
Simon says: “I really believe that Foggy has changed my life. Before I had him I would never go out and would stay in my room, I was happier alone. I was born with Treacher Collins Syndrome, which left me with a facial disfigurement, looking different to other people. I was bullied at school and making friends was hard so I never had much of a social life. When I got Foggy, it felt like the start of a new life. Without Foggy I wouldn't being doing the job I love, I wouldn't be travelling and I wouldn't be marrying my soul-mate Vicky.”
Heroic Hearing Dog of the Year
This award is for hearing dogs that have either saved someone’s life, acted above and beyond the call of duty, or managed to avert a potentially tricky or dangerous situation.
Breed: Tri-coloured Mongrel
Recipient: Mags Adams-Aston (48), Coventry
Mags says: “Taz is very loving. He has a unique personality and the difference he has made to my life has been tremendous. Taz alerted my profoundly deaf, non-hearing aid wearing husband Mike when I fell through the kitchen ceiling. Taz has also helped in some potentially dangerous situations. When out walking in Snowdonia, one of our party injured their leg. With Taz’s help, we managed to get the injured man to safety. Taz is my best friend and I would be lost without him.”
Breed: Golden Mongrel
Recipient: Samantha Maxwell (39), Lisburn, County Antrim
Samantha says: “Before I had Jester, I had low self-esteem and my confidence and independence had gone. Once he arrived, I knew he would be the one to sort me out. On our first train journey together I was stung by a wasp and reacted very badly. Fighting for breath and struggling to find my inhaler, Jester noticed immediately that something was seriously wrong and alerted staff on the train. He is such a clever dog and I am so proud to have him in my life.”
Breed: Jack Russell Terrier
Recipient: Kenny Gibson (63), Coleraine, County Londonderry
Sheila (Kenny’s wife), commenting on an accident at home, says: “Troy saw me fall and ran to alert Kenny. Kenny found me lying at the bottom of the stairs pouring with blood. Another time, I fell from a ladder and in doing so pulled a cupboard on top of myself. Troy ran through the house and alerted Kenny. Again if it hadn’t been for Troy, I don’t know what would have happened.”
Team/dual-purpose Hearing Dog of the Year
In recent years the Charity has extended its services to meet the needs of young people and to those who have additional disabilities such visual impairment or loss of mobility. This award celebrates these special dogs.
Name: Sam (team hearing dog)
Breed: Golden Labrador
Recipient: Lauren Brooks (12), Lincolnshire
Lauren’s father, Simon Brooks, says: “Lauren was born profoundly deaf and has always struggled with communication, language delay and with her confidence. Sam has made such a positive impact on Lauren. Three years down the line Lauren is a different girl. She is so much more confident when communicating and feels completely safe and secure knowing her totally dependable Sam is by her side or keeping watch over her at night. She is much more confident and independent. Not only has Sam made an enormous impact on Lauren’s life but he has had a profound effect on us as a family.”
Name: Deena (dual-purpose dog)
Breed: Golden Retriever
Recipient: Angela Perrow (35), Lincolnshire
Angela says: “I was born deaf and now I am also losing my sight. Deena has changed my life and I am now full of confidence and independence. I walk with real pride. If I didn’t have Deena, I really don’t know what would have happened. I left a candle on and forgot all about it. Deena woke me up with the smoke alarm. She saved my life.”
Name: Abbey (dual-purpose dog)
Recipient: Glynnis Hilliard (51), Northampton
Glynnis says: “Abbey has been trained to help me with my hearing problems and disability, but incredibly she has also taught herself to do a lot more. Abbey has taught herself to lick my fingers if my blood glucose is too high or too low so I can check my blood and if she can reach my blood glucose testing bag, she will sometimes bring that to me too without being asked. All this while carrying out her duties to help me with my hearing problems.”
Help us to create more life-changing partnerships
If you would like to help us to create more partnerships like this year’s finalists simply text HDOG11 £5 to 70070 to make a £5 donation. Thank you.