"Hearing dog Pickle helps me be a better mum"

Posted by Matt Sadler

This will be new mum Kirsten's first Mother’s Day and she has so much to thank Pickle for…

Kirsten is sitting on a sofa and holding baby Noelle in her arms with hearing dog Pickle sat beside her

“Without my hearing dog Pickle telling me when Noëlle is crying and alerting me to the other baby devices I’d be lost. Even the midwives have been impressed with seeing Pickle in action, nudging to alert me to all the important sounds that mum’s need to know. Pickle helps me to be a better mum, I’d be clueless as to what’s happening without her.

“Noëlle Jade was born in January in York hospital. I had an emergency C-section so Pickle wasn’t allowed in the operating room with us but she did come in the next day to see me and meet Noëlle, which was a lovely moment.

“I became partially deaf in my left ear in my late twenties due to Ménière’s disease. Within six months I had lost all my hearing and I’ve been fully deaf for six years now.

“In 2019, soon after I got Pickle, she saved my life, along with my husband Matthew and several other residents in our block. Pickle woke me in the night and when I said ‘What is it?’ she laid down, giving me the emergency signal and alerting us to a fire in the flats where we used to live. It turned out that Pickle had actually heard the smoke alarm sounding in a neighbouring flat!

“Since we’ve had Noëlle, Pickle has stepped up even more in assisting me. She will let me know when Noëlle cries by nudging me. We’d only practised playing baby crying noises and rewarding Pickle a few weeks before I was due to give birth, so I was amazed how quickly she picked up alerting me to the sound of Noëlle’s cry.

“We also have a lot of extra baby devices such as the steriliser machine for the bottles, a baby monitor, a thermometer for the bath, bottle warmer etc. When one of them pings, Pickle will nudge me and take me to it. It never fails to amaze me how clever Pickle is.

Hearing dog Pickle in his burgundy jacket

“This is our first child, and before Pickle my life felt bleak and isolated - apart from my husband and some family members who managed with my illness and what it did to me. Ménière’s disease caused my deafness, but as well as Ménière’s, I have a heart syncapathy and vestibular migraines. I’m the first person to be diagnosed with all three conditions.

“The best way to describe what it does to me? It’s like being allergic to life. I have balance issues associated with my Ménière’s disease, as well as sharp stabbing pains and much more.

“Before I had Pickle, I was afraid constantly and not sleeping. Not anymore. Pickle is definitely my guardian angel and now she’s Noëlle’s too, which fills my heart with joy. I couldn’t be prouder of my girls.

“A massive thank you to everyone at Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, to the volunteers and supporters of the Charity, because without Pickle we may not even be here today, and then our wonderful Noëlle would never have been born.”

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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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