Meet dual assistance dog Deena and her deafblind recipient Angela
There are around 250,000 people suffering from some degree of dual sensory impairment in the UK. In a world that is designed for those who can see and/or hear, living with the condition makes it incredibly hard to communicate, and many struggle to live independently without support.
One of those people is 39-year-old Angela Perrow, from Lincolnshire. Read her story below.
“I would be absolutely lost without Deena”
Angela says: “I was born deaf and eventually I will lose my sight. It’s already very tunnelled and I don’t see anything at night-time, but it will eventually go all together.
“Life before Deena was quite sad really – I used to hide away with my hair down and I didn’t have any confidence. I felt lonely because no one seemed to understand what I was going through.
“Deena has helped me to interact with people again. I remember when we first met, I knew we would bond straight away – she just gives me full confidence and we walk around like best little buddies.”
Even at the very beginning of their partnership, this bond was sealed for life when Deena’s training saved Angela’s life.
Angela recalls: “I had lit a candle in the en suite and totally forgot all about it. At four o’clock in the morning, Deena jumped on the bed to wake me up. Immediately I thought: ‘there’s a fire somewhere.’
“I really couldn’t see the fire, because obviously it was dark and all I could smell was smoke. When I opened the door, the smoke that came out of the en suite was unbelievable.
“I just started crying my eyes out, saying ‘you saved my life,’ giving her kisses and cuddles. If it hadn’t have been for Deena that night, I really don’t know what would have happened.
“Deena means the world to me. She’s my best friend and I would be absolutely lost without her.”
Deafblindness is a combination of sight and hearing loss that hugely affects a person’s ability to communicate and to live an independent life. Hearing Dogs for Deaf People works closely with Guide Dogs UK to train dual-assistance dogs like Deena, providing life-changing partnerships for those living with deafblindness.