“Orchid means everything to me”

Posted by Matt Sadler

For young Lily, life has not been easy.

Lily is 15 years old and has been profoundly deaf since she was two. Although she was fitted with cochlear implants, which helped to make things easier, her deafness made her feel anxious and affected her confidence.

Things were incredibly scary for Lily at night-time, when she had to take out her cochlear implants, plunging her into total silence. She felt scared and unsafe, worried that the fire alarm or another danger sound might go off that she wouldn’t be able to hear.

When hearing dog Thora came into Lily’s life, everything changed. Thora – a beautiful Cocker Spaniel – became Lily’s best friend, alerting her to sounds and making her feel safe and less anxious. Thora not only provided lots of love and emotional support to Lily, but she also became a hugely important part of the family.

A smiling young girl sitting down on autumn leaf covered ground, her back against a tree. She is holding an alert black dog in her arms
Lily and Thora

After less than three years of their close bond, Thora sadly died after a short illness. Lily was devastated. As were her entire family. Thora had become such an important part of their lives.

When Thora died, not only did Lily have to deal with the grief, but she also had to deal with the feelings she felt before she had Thora that had returned. She started feeling anxious again, she struggled to sleep at night, she felt exhausted at school because she hadn’t slept. She started losing some of the confidence Thora had helped her build. She missed her best friend.

However, during the summer of 2021, we had some good news for Lily - we had found another suitable dog for her! That dog was Orchid, another gorgeous Cocker Spaniel.

A smiling girl sitting on a chair which covered in a lime green blanket. She is holding an inquisitive looking dog beside her.
Lily and Orchid

Lily and Orchid have bonded incredibly well in just a few months. Orchid not only listens out for important and life-saving sounds so she can alert Lily to them, she also gives Lily lots of love and affection. Like Thora before her, Orchid is helping to build Lily’s confidence, makes her feel safe at night so she can sleep again, and she alleviates Lily’s anxieties.

While Lily naturally still misses Thora, she says Orchid, another best friend, “means everything to me”.

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About the author

blog hearing dogs

Hi everyone, I'm Matt and I look after the Charity's social media, blog and e-newsletter.

I spend a lot of my day talking about our hearing dog superstars - it's a hard life!

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