"Hearing dog Buffy lights up my life - I would be in a much darker place without her."
Posted by Sarah O'Brien
Liz Moore suffered with depression and isolation before she met hearing dog Buffy - now her life has been transformed.
Read her story below:
“For many years I would get terrible ear infections, but I never got a treatment that worked. When I went to live in Menorca aged 56 I finally learnt to swim and dive. I loved it, but I started to get severe problems with my ears – so I decided to get them checked again.
“I was then diagnosed as deaf and was also told I had a bone tumour growing called a Cholesteatoma. On my return to the UK I had surgery, but unfortunately my hearing could not be saved.
“My life became very different on returning back to the UK. In Menorca I had a job, a fantastic social life with many dear friends so I was always very busy. Back in the UK I only knew a few people, I had no job, and I was struggling financially.
“I felt extremely lonely and I really isolated myself. Because I did not hear well, it was easier to stay at home and read or watch TV than to go out and struggle in the public.
“My biggest struggle was motivating myself to get back into the world. I tried to do this by spending one day a week at a local school listening to children read. Sadly, my growing depression stopped me doing that. I was beginning to lose all hope.
“I found out about Hearing Dogs through a recipient I met in Hemel Hempstead, she was very helpful in explaining what her dog did for her. I realised that I would feel more confident in my own home and would not have any more burnt food setting off my smoke alarm!
“I hoped having a hearing dog would give me my confidence back. It would make me feel needed again.
“I thought about it for a month before plucking up courage to ring Hearing Dogs. I never thought I would have a chance - why would I be that lucky? But at that time I was a low as I could be, so I needed help more than ever.
“I was so excited to be given the chance to come for an assessment and loved every minute. The staff were great very encouraging, so then it was a waiting game after my home visit.
“It was April 2017 when I got the text to say they had a hearing dog for me – Buffy. I screamed and danced around for a good twenty minutes then told all my friends in Spain. It was like a cloud had been lifted already.
“Buffy came for a sleep over and I fell in love with her instantly. Her trainer Sally and I took her for a walk, and she was just amazing. She seemed to be bonding with me easily. Later that evening, we went for a walk on our own. She was very attentive and listened to my every word, she loved the park but best of all she loved the river – she is a real water baby!
“We both had a good night’s sleep, a great morning together, and then Sally and her went home. How empty my flat was when they left – but I knew that I would soon have her in my home again.
“When I went to The Grange in Saunderton to train with Buffy, we got on great! She is a very confident dog and I could tell she wanted to please me. The bond between us was clear to see – and we have been inseparable ever since.
“Everything in my life is better now that Buffy has come along. She has truly changed my existence from one of loneliness, depression and isolation to one full of joy and excitement.
“What’s more, my health has dramatically improved. When I first heard that I was getting a hearing dog, I stopped smoking. I used to smoke 30 a day but since knowing I was getting an amazing life-changer, I never touched another. I wanted Buffy to come into a healthy environment.
“My weight has dropped too, and I have come down from a size 22 to a 14 - my doctor is amazed! As I am also diabetic, my sugar levels have improved greatly with all the exercise. We go out for two long walks daily. I have never felt so great – and it’s all thanks to Buffy. She really has saved my life!
“My social life is also better – I have made lots of new friends, joined a social club and am now baking cakes again. People always say hello and many say that I am always happy whatever the weather.
“Buffy has an amazing personality, and everyone falls in love with her. From the doctor, hearing clinic staff, blood clinic (where she lay on me as they took blood as if to reassure me it was ok with her there) – everyone can see what a difference she makes to my life.
“She is so well behaved – when we shop or stop for coffee, she lies on her blanket very calmly and patiently, charming everyone who sees her, as usual!
“Buffy means the absolute world to me and I am sure that without her I would be in a much darker place. She lights up my life and she can make me laugh out loud.
“I feel very proud to have such a beautiful, well behaved dog. I am so much happier and have regained my full confidence.
“I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who supports Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. You have given me my life back. And thank you for changing other deaf people’s lives from young to old, too. We need more people like you. Thank you, from both Buffy and I."
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