"Winnie makes my life so much easier"

Posted by Matt Sadler

Ralph used to struggle with people’s lack of awareness of his ‘hidden disability’. Now, former sponsor pup Winnie is changing that...
 Ralph and black Labrador Winnie are sitting on a sofa. Next to Winnie is a cuddly toy Winnie the Pooh.“We’re not entirely sure why I’m deaf,” says Ralph. “My family think I have been deaf since birth and it was discovered when I was around two years old. Since then I have worn hearing aids.
“Everyone was supportive, and I adapted well to home and school life. However, when I left home to move to London, I noticed I would miss really important sounds, such as the doorbell or, even more importantly, the fire alarm. This was especially worrying when I was alone in my flat.
“I also struggled with alarm clocks. They just didn’t wake me up. As I work in the City, I have lots of meetings, and I needed to be absolutely confident I could not just be there on time, but also be able to use public transport to get there in the first place.
“Then, during meetings, while they generally went well, there were occasions where people didn’t know about my deafness, and assumed I was ignoring them.
“I also found socialising difficult. I have to make sure that people are facing me when talking to me. Once people are aware, they are usually very considerate, but it’s getting that awareness across in the first place that I’ve needed help with.”
These combined issues made Ralph realise that, to make his way in the world, he would need support. So, along came Winnie!
Ralph smiles: “Things have been much easier since having Winnie. She has been really helpful in raising awareness, because of her burgundy Hearing Dogs coat. This means that people are more likely to take my hearing loss into consideration.
“This makes work meetings much easier. She also lets me know when the weekly fire alarm goes off, which is very reassuring. I’m happy to say, she comes with me to work on the District Line! She’s very popular with all the commuters.
“She’s also made a huge difference to my home life. She’s excellent at waking me up on time, and I now never miss all the important doorbells for the deliveries of dog treats and toys!
“Winnie is so attentive. I feel safe with her. She’s also funny: she’s always keen to get up to mischief on our walks. She wanders off, then comes right back when called, proud to show me what she has discovered.”
“If I were to sum her up it would be: full of love.”

The huge difference Winnie has made to Ralph’s life has only been possible thanks to the kind people who decided to sponsor her training

winnie-garden2-977-550.jpgWinnie was one of our sponsor puppies, meaning that supporters sponsored her training journey, from 8-week-old puppy to a highly skilled hearing dog who could alert people to sounds and offer lots of love, companionship, and emotional support.

You can help us train more life-changing hearing dogs by sponsoring one of our adorable puppies.

Sponsor a puppy and change a deaf person's life

These cute puppies are training to become life-changers. Sponsor them from £5 a month and follow their journey as they learn how to help a deaf person.

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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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