"My life was transformed by a gift in a Will"

Posted by Matt Sadler

Ted, real name Teddington, is one of five named pups whose training and partnership were funded thanks to a generous legacy gift.

Clare and hearing dog Teddington

This handsome Labrador is partnered to Claire Clapham from Croydon, who says: “When I learned that my hearing dog had been funded by a gift in a Will I was completely stunned and very, very grateful. Ted helps the whole family feel safe – my husband is also deaf and we have an eight-year-old son, Max.

“There’s a special bond you have with a hearing dog that’s so much stronger than the one you have with a pet. Ted’s with me from the moment I wake up, making me aware of things around me. And while we’re asleep, I have peace of mind that Ted will alert us to the fire alarm, or any other danger that may occur.

“Ted makes me feel more efficient in my work life. I’m not the most confident person, but when you have a hidden disability like deafness, having a hearing dog like Ted gives you the confidence to go out, hold your head up high and be you. When people see Ted in his jacket they understand that I’m deaf without me having to explain; as long as he’s there beside me, he acts as a reminder.

Clare with husband Will, son Max, and Ted

A life-changing moment

“I work in the community as part of the social care team in occupational health. One client was particularly rude about my deafness. I realised I needed some sort of back-up – a visual awareness that would make people understand that I may miss things. That’s when I contacted Hearing Dogs for help, and I never looked back.

“Ted helps more than just me. In the office, if someone has taken a difficult phone call, they’ll seek Ted out, give him a cuddle and the stress is gone. Ted seems drawn to those who are feeling a bit lonely.

“A lot of the clients we visit are elderly and may not have seen anyone for days. But you can’t feel lonely when Ted’s leaning up against you with his head on your lap – he’s a big softy that way. His presence is very therapeutic, he acts as an ice-breaker, encouraging them to talk to me.

“It’s wonderful really; that there are people who care so much that they’ve chosen to leave money to Hearing Dogs. Without gifts of this kind, it would be much more difficult to train dogs to help people like me – and for that I am eternally grateful.”

Ted has made such a huge impact on Claire's life that she wanted to give something back to Hearing Dogs. 

Claire adds: “Me, my husband Will, and seven friends vowed to complete the Three Peaks over three years, having completed Snowdon in June 2017, then Scafell Pike in September 2018. Ben Nevis, our final peak in the Three Peaks challenge, was completed in May this year.

Clare at the summit of Ben Nevis

“It was our most challenging climb and one we completed with Ted beside us every step of the way – he is a very fit yellow Labrador and had been cleared to do the challenge by his vet. We went fully equipped and funded our own travel and accommodation.

“The view from our B&B lodge was magnificent; watching the sunset on Ben Nevis was truly an amazing experience. It was just as beautiful in the morning.

“The weather looked ideal, but how quickly it can change – good job we went prepared for all weathers! And we did it! It’s our way of giving back to the Charity for having wonderful lifelong companionship with a hearing dog and all that this brings to our lives.

“Thank you to everyone who supported us in raising £2,062.84 for Hearing Dogs.”

Why you might like to help

These three wonderful supporters have decided to leave a gift in their Will to help deaf people to leave loneliness behind...

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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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