Looking after a hearing dog mum
Posted by Matt Sadler
Nicki Johnson fosters hearing dog mum Charley, who had her first litter of future life-changers just before Christmas.
Nicki’s volunteering role involves her giving a lifetime home to a hearing dog mum and looking after her puppies until they are eight weeks old, but what made Nicki want to volunteer for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People?
She said: “I started volunteering for Hearing Dogs as holiday cover to see how the experience of having a dog would fit with my family, in particular my son. My husband and I have had dogs in the past, and I missed having a four-legged friend around.
“We started doing holiday cover to test the water. I think it was meant to be when we had the amazing Freddie, who came for an extended stay of five months! We all loved having him around.
“We considered helping to train a hearing dog puppy, but I was particularly excited about the prospect of having a hearing dog mum as having a litter is something I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember.
“I don't know if we just got particularly lucky, but Charley fitted into our family straight away. She has a beautiful personality and was not fazed by the change of home and routine.
“It was very interesting watching the puppies develop, and we definitely made the most of cuddle time. You can never have too many puppy cuddles in my opinion! It was incredibly rewarding seeing them all grow and gain confidence in their surroundings and interactions with us.
“One of the great things about being a volunteer is that the whole process is fully supported. The Hearing Dogs team are brilliant with answering questions and giving clear guidelines on what to do, as well as being present at the birth.
“As a first timer, I was excited and nervous, but had confidence that we would be okay as our puppy supply supervisor Alice had seen it all before. She was there throughout the whelp and was always on the end of the phone for multiple questions!
“It is a great way to volunteer, as you know that your donation of time and energy is for a great cause. You are an important part of the charity and therefore will be making a difference in people’s lives.
“Through volunteering we now have an awesome dog who has become part of our family. When the pups have moved on, your hearing dog mum is there to stay. We appreciate her now even more for being such a brilliant mum as well as for being such a lovely companion.”
Click here to see Nicki’s amazing photo diary on looking after Charley's litter.
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