"With hearing dog Marcus, I feel as though I can do anything."

Posted by Matt Sadler

Emily, who is 25 years old, wasn't diagnosed as being deaf until she was five. She was partnered with hearing dog Marcus five years ago, and our clever Cocker Spaniel has made a huge difference to her life.

Front: Emily, her husband Matthew and hearing dog Marcus. Back: Jackie (left) and Linda, who were Marcus' volunteer puppy trainers.

"Up until my diagnosis, my parents were told I had behavioural difficulties. We think now that I had basically taught myself to lipread from a very young age.

"I went to a mainstream primary school with a deaf unit. It wasn’t unusual to be deaf at that school; there were 15 of us in the unit, so that’s where I made my childhood friends.

"Secondary school was a different story. I went to two different secondary schools, both with a ‘learning unit’, but was bullied at both and the support I needed for my hearing loss was virtually non-existent. Thankfully, after that, I went to the Mary Hare School for the Deaf in Newbury. I don’t think I would’ve got the qualifications I needed if I hadn’t.

"After studying animal management and dog grooming at A Level, and I decided on a career in animal care. I’m a bit of a country girl!

"I decided to apply for a hearing dog when I was working on a dairy farm in Wiltshire. I was living on my own in a flat, I didn’t have any friends and I was anxious and isolated. I felt very different from other people. Rather than talk about how I was feeling though, I bottled things up and ended up suffering from depression and anxiety.

"It was my auntie who suggested I apply for a hearing dog. She helped me fill in the application form and we both sat there with our fingers crossed, hoping my application would be accepted.

"Meeting Marcus for the first time was indescribable. I’ve been around dogs all my life, but with him there was just something special. It’s hard to describe, but he just took everything away. He came running in with Polly, the trainer, all bouncy and happy, and just made himself right at home.

"Marcus comes to work with me and he loves it. When we get there in the morning, he rushes round to say hello to everyone. I wish I had the same enthusiasm for mornings!

"Marcus makes me feel so much more confident to talk to anybody. I’m not afraid to open up about my deafness and tell people I’m deaf. In fact, when people ask me about him, I try and educate them about Hearing Dogs. I would never have done that before.

"All the sounds he alerts me to are important, but the fire alarm is the one that makes a real difference to me. When you have hearing loss, it’s always at the back of your mind that one day you might not hear a fire alarm and that could be a life-or-death situation. Now I know Marcus will alert me to it.

"I can’t thank the people enough who were involved in making our partnership happen. There are no words. They take these dogs into their home, they train them, feed them and give them a sense of routine. They do so much in their free time to help people like me - how do you find the words to thank someone for that?

"I got married in August, and my partner loves him just as much as I do, but if he hadn’t accepted Marcus, there would’ve been no contest! We come as a pair. He’s everything to me - literally my best friend. He gives me unconditional love and never judges me. With Marcus, I feel as though I could do anything."

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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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