“Molly helped me find my ‘deaf identity’”
Posted by Matt Sadler
Molly was once a cute little sponsor puppy. Now she’s helping Clare every day, at work, at home and at play.
This is Clare’s story…
“I was born with beyond profound hearing loss in my left ear and partial hearing loss in my right ear. In 2013, while finishing my degree, my hearing further deteriorated. Nobody knows why this happened. Today I wear hearing aids.
“When my deafness got worse, I worried about not hearing the alarm clock, and particularly the smoke alarm. My biggest fear was fire. I just could not sleep on my own in the house.
“This was a real problem if my partner had to go anywhere overnight. I used to go back to my parents. As much as I love seeing them, it felt like I couldn’t truly be independent.
“Also, I lacked confidence in speaking to people I didn’t know. I would make my partner talk for me, at supermarkets or in shops.
“I was partnered with the wonderful sponsor dog Molly in 2017. She is now my smoke alarm and alarm clock. I no longer have to worry – I can sleep easily, knowing Molly is there. She really seems to love her soundwork, especially alerting to the alarm clock as she loves eating breakfast!
“My partner can now work away from home more. Until I had Molly I had never stayed in the house on my own overnight.
“I am also definitely much more confident at speaking to people who don’t know that I’m deaf. When it was announced that face coverings were advisable in certain situations, I felt quite anxious, because it would make understanding people so much harder.
“However, when people saw Molly’s burgundy Hearing Dogs coat, they understood the situation, and they adapted. So, we managed, together.
“I’ve also realised that Hearing Dogs also opens up a world of possibilities. Being deaf in a hearing world can be very isolating, and so I love meeting other Hearing Dogs partners. We talk about our beautiful and clever dogs, and we can share stories about situations we find ourselves in due to our deafness.
“The whole experience has ‘validated’ me. I realise I’m not alone in the things I struggled with. I feel I am part of a community that has opened its arms to me. It also means I have written lots of wedding invitations to dogs!
Clare got married during lockdown and as her dad wasn't able to walk her down the aisle due to social distancing, Molly had the honour instead.
“Nowadays, Molly is a local celebrity. We always talk to someone everywhere we go. I used to avoid talking to people I didn’t know – now I love talking to people about Molly.
“At work we have nicknamed her the ‘Employee Therapy Dog’. I work in a children’s hospice were there are official therapy dogs, but in their absence Molly is always happy to step in. What is amazing is that she will go from the excitement of tricks to laying quietly with a poorly child – her instincts are amazing.
“I feel like I have found my deaf identity. Having Molly has been more than ‘just’ having an assistance dog to keep me safe and be my constant companion. She has opened the door to meeting other deaf people. She has enriched and improved my life immeasurably.
“I cannot thank Molly’s sponsors enough for their help in enabling Molly to change my life.
“To give something back, I’m now sponsoring Rusty. The updates are beautiful and really illustrate the journey a puppy goes through to become a life-changer.”
Meet the pups in our Puppy Training Scheme
These cute puppies are training to become life-changers. Sponsor them from £3 a month and follow their journey as they learn how to help a deaf person.
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