"Hearing Dog Ayla has been my lifeline."
Meet Hannah, 31 and her hearing dog Ayla.
Hannah struggled with her deafness for many years, and even tried to take her own life. Since being partnered with her hearing dog Ayla, she feels she has her identity back and is now looking to the future with hope and excitement.
“Being deaf is very isolating because it’s an invisible disability, so people don’t identify it straight away in order to help you. Often you have to get yourself into potentially dangerous situations before people around you realise that you need additional support or help.
“I think my low was when my husband was away, and I actually found myself with my hands on bridge railings about to climb over to throw myself off the bridge.”
“Very quickly my family knew something wasn’t right. Eventually we got the diagnosis that I had borderline personality disorder.”
In January 2015 Hannah was partnered with Cocker Spaniel Ayla. She bounded her way into Hannah’s heart and the pair quickly became inseparable as Ayla started to turn Hannah’s life around.
“Knowing that I was going to get a hearing dog was one of the best feelings in the world. I knew it was going to be a game changer, I knew it was going to be life-changing and that she was going to change my life, but even to this day I underestimated how much so.
“My confidence in myself has got to the point now where I can think about having children whereas before I didn’t feel safe in my own home, I’ve left things to cook and burnt them, I’ve set fire to the kitchen so many times. But now having Ayla there I can think about being a Mum and having a family of my own.
“I no longer feel like a shadow or a nobody, I’ve got an identity and I’m happy with it. For me Ayla has been a lifeline. She’s pulled me back on track and put me back on the map. She has made me visible. I don’t feel like I’m drowning at sea any more.
“When the going gets tough Ayla gets going, and she will pull me through.”
Watch Hannah and Ayla's story
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