Sponsor a puppy and change a deaf person's life

These pups will help a deaf person to stop feeling isolated and alone. The pup you sponsor will become their ears, and their best friend too, from just £3 per month.

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When you sponsor a puppy you'll receive:

A fantastic welcome pack

Packed with goodies to introduce you to your chosen pup.

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And regular pupdates about your puppy's training

You'll receive printed updates, and stories in the online Puppy Pen, so you can follow your pup's journey from a cute puppy to a life-changing hearing dog.

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You'll see your pup turn into a life-changing hearing dog

Hunter was once a sponsor puppy...

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"Without Hunter I would never have dreamed of enjoying life again. He isn't just my ears, he's part of me and my family love him to bits."

Lisa, and her hearing dog Hunter.

Puppy sponsorship makes a great gift

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"I bought my son Harvey a puppy sponsorship as a gift. He loved it and can't wait to get his first pupdate!"

Says Charlotte, mum of Harvey.

* The sponsorship journey usually lasts between 18 and 24 months, but some puppies can occasionally take a little longer. You will then be offered the choice of another puppy or to end your sponsorship.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What do sponsors receive? How do they follow a puppy’s progress?

    All sponsors receive a fantastic welcome pack, which includes a certificate, car sticker and postcards of their puppy. In addition, at the £5 sponsorship amount you receive a cuddly puppy toy, notepad and pen, and at the £10 amount you also receive a beautiful framed photo of your chosen puppy.

    From then on, we send regular updates on how your puppy is doing, either printed or, if requested, by email. We publish training updates roughly every five to six months, depending on how quickly the puppy goes through training. On average, across the 18-24 months of a puppy’s training, this means four updates.

    The updates show, through beautiful photos, how your puppy is getting on, with comments from the people involved with his or her training. The full set of updates goes right the way through training and then introduces you to the deaf person your puppy is helping on a daily basis (if they have given us permission to do so).

    In between full updates, we also publish ‘Pupdates’ (see what we did there?) in the online Puppy Pen every two months, showing what a fun life your puppy is having as he or she learns about the world. When we do this, we also email our sponsors to tell them there’s a new Pupdate.

    So, you'll see the progress you have made possible. You can also celebrate the outcome, when your puppy is partnered with a deaf person and helps them to leave loneliness behind.

  • What is my sponsorship money used for?

    Your sponsorship contributes towards a puppy’s training.

    This begins when a puppy is eight weeks old and starts living with a volunteer. It covers the first year of basic training, then a further few months of advanced training, when the dog learns how to recognise sounds and alert a person to them, until the puppy is matched with a deaf partner. This usually takes around 18 to 24 months.

    We receive no central government funding to achieve this, so every sponsorship makes a big difference.

  • How much does it cost to train a hearing dog?

    It costs £25,000 to take a puppy from birth through to being partnered with a deaf person. This covers breeding our pups, which we do to ensure the health and welfare of our dogs, to carefully sourcing puppies from reputable external breeders when required, as well as basic training during their first year and advanced training on a one-to-one basis. It also covers all associated costs such as equipment, food, admin and vet bills, plus the time of dedicated trainers and support staff.

  • Can I sponsor as a gift?

    Yes! Sponsorship makes a great gift for both children and adults.

    To do this, go to the sponsor page and choose the ‘gift’ option. You can also choose whether to have the welcome pack sent to you, or directly to the gift receiver.

    It generally takes 7-10 working days for welcome packs to be received, and if you don’t manage to order in time but you want to be absolutely sure you have something on that special day, you can download a sponsor certificate in one of two ways:

    • If you sponsored online, you will be emailed a link to download your gift certificate as soon as your sponsorship is set up. If your certificate doesn’t arrive, then please check your junk/spam folder.
    • If you sponsored via a manual form, then please phone us on 01844 340734 or email us at puppy.sponsorship@hearingdogs.org.uk and we will send a certificate through.
  • What happens when my puppy graduates?

    When the puppy’s training journey ends and he or she is matched with a deaf person, we transfer the sponsorship automatically to a new puppy if you paid by Direct Debit or a monthly PayPal donation. You can of course choose not to follow your new puppy and cancel your regular donation if you wish by contacting us. If you paid as a one-off, we ask if you’d like to sponsor another puppy.

    We do this with a letter or email at the same time as your final update, in which you get to see the result of your support. We also show you lovely photos of the new puppy. It’s a very exciting time, as one journey ends and another begins!

  • What are the stages of training?

    There are two main stages: the first year living with a volunteer to learn basic training and obedience, as well as learning about the world and then advanced training, where our puppies are taught how to recognise sounds and alert people about them. We train them to recognise life-saving sounds like the smoke alarm, and important sounds such as the alarm clock and even baby monitors.

    Throughout this time, we assess a puppy’s progress using what we call Puppy Star Awards. As well as developing the puppy’s practical skills, we focus very much on helping its character grow. The emotional side of what a hearing dog does – being a canine companion to a deaf person who might be feeling very alone – is as important as the practical day-to-day help that a dog offers.

    It’s incredible to think that a cute, cuddly puppy can make this amazing journey to change a deaf person’s life.

  • How do you match a hearing dog with a deaf person?

    It’s vital that a hearing dog and their deaf partner are very carefully matched to ensure the partnership will work for the long term. We take this process very seriously. Many things need to be taken into consideration in deciding which dog would be the right fit for someone with specific needs. For example, we wouldn’t match a bouncy, bubbly Labrador with an elderly person with mobility problems. However, the same Labrador could make a great companion for a fit 35-year-old who goes out jogging every morning.

    We also consider many other aspects of a person’s lifestyle, such as whether they live in an urban or rural location, how active they are, what their social life is like, if they have any other pets, if they have children in their lives, if they use public transport, and many others. By ensuring we have a very detailed understanding of a person’s life (and how their deafness or hearing loss affects it), we can better determine the kind of dog that would best suit their needs.

  • What happens if my dog doesn’t make it as a hearing dog?

    We do everything in our power to make sure as many puppies as possible will ultimately end up helping a deaf person to leave loneliness behind and reconnect with life. From running our own breeding programme, to carefully sourcing puppies from reputable external breeders, right the way through to training and matching, we spend a huge amount of time, thought, effort and care to help them through their journey.

    However, we also place the puppy’s welfare front and centre, and sometimes a puppy or dog is not completely comfortable in certain situations that it will need to cope with if it’s to accompany a deaf person wherever they go. If we notice, for example, that the puppy is nervous in town centres or doesn’t like being around other dogs, then we will consider other ways in which that puppy can help a deaf person.

    These include:

    Sound support dogs – for people with a moderate hearing loss who would benefit from a dog alerting them to important sounds in the home and offering companionship and emotional support.

    Confidence and companion dogs – for people who may not need to be alerted to sounds but would greatly benefit from companionship and emotional support because of their hearing loss.

    We also have a small number of charity support dogs that help the charity with demonstrations and assist with the induction of new clients to life with a hearing dog and all that is involved.

  • How do I sponsor a puppy?

    Simply visit Sponsor a Puppy and choose one or more of the adorable hearing dog puppies available to sponsor. Complete your details online, including whether this is for yourself or as a gift. Every journey is unique, and your support will help change a deaf person’s life.

  • How can I pay by Direct Debit or one-off payment?

    The first (and very tough!) decision you need to make is which puppy to sponsor. Then you decide how much you would like to sponsor your puppy for. You can pay by monthly Direct Debit starting from £3 a month, or as a one-off payment starting from £60.

  • Can my welcome pack arrive on a specific day?

    We would love to provide this service. However, as we depend on Royal Mail we would not want to make promises that we do not have the power to keep. The Royal Mail service we use means that we can send welcome packs within 7-10 working days. This helps to keep the cost down so more of your donation helps our puppies in training. If you want to be sure you have something on a specific day, then you can download a sponsor certificate in one of two ways:

    • If you sponsored online, you will be emailed a link to download your gift certificate as soon as your sponsorship is set up. If your certificate doesn’t arrive, then please check your junk/spam folder.
    • If you sponsored via a manual form, then please phone us on 01844 340734 or email us at puppy.sponsorship@hearingdogs.org.uk and we will send a certificate through.
  • What types of dogs do you train to become Hearing Dogs?

    The majority of our recruits are Cocker Spaniels, Labradors, Cockapoos and Miniature Poodles.

  • Am I the only person who sponsors a puppy?

    Each puppy has many sponsors. We are very fortunate that we have so many kind people who want to sponsor our puppies. When you sponsor a puppy, you are part of something wonderful: you are helping that puppy grow up, and help a deaf person reconnect with life.

  • Can I visit my puppy?

    Our puppies adore human company so we wish we could give you the opportunity to meet the puppy you’re sponsoring. However, all our puppies are very busy with their training to become life-changing hearing dogs, so unfortunately this isn’t possible.

    This is why we give as much information as possible, through regular pupdates, showing how your puppy is enjoying life and training.

    If you would like to visit our training centre, find out more about our clever dogs, and even meet some hearing dogs, then you might like to come on a guided tour.

  • How are puppies named? Can I name one?

    We give them names that suit their character, and that are easy for deaf people to lipread.

    Under our normal sponsorship scheme you cannot name a puppy. However, if you would like to enquire about making a significant donation, or are interested in a corporate sponsorship, part of which involves the option to name a puppy, then please get in touch – phone us on 01844 348109

  • How do I update my personal/bank details?

    To change your personal details, please phone us on 01844 340734, email us at puppy.sponsorship@hearingdogs.org.uk or write to us at Hearing Dogs for Deaf People with your name, your old address and your new address (including postcodes).

    If you would like to notify us of changes to your bank details, please phone us on 01844 340734 or write to us at Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. Because email is not secure, please do not send us any banking details by email.

    Please rest assured that we are fully GDPR-compliant and treat all your details according to our privacy policy.

  • How do I cancel?

    If you would like to cancel, please phone us on 01844 340734 or write to us at Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. Email is not secure, so please do not send us any banking details by email.

    If paying by Direct Debit, we would also recommend that you contact your bank to cancel the payment, simply so that you’re sure everything is covered at both ends of the transaction.

    If paying by PayPal, you can actually cancel the payment yourself. To do this, log in to PayPal, go to Settings, click Payments, and under ‘Pre-arranged payments’ click Manage. Then you can filter for the Hearing Dogs payment, and click Cancel.

    Our commitment doesn’t stop there as we then support the partnership with the deaf person right up until the hearing dog retires, which is usually at the age of eleven. In total, this can cost around £40,000.

    We receive no central government funding to achieve this, so every sponsorship is incredibly valuable to us. It means we can help more deaf people to leave loneliness behind and reconnect with life.

  • Why do you have minimum amounts?

    As a well-run charity we try to be as efficient and effective as possible in everything we do. However, there are certain limits below which we would simply lose money on each sponsorship. The amounts we ask for mean that, after costs are considered, sufficient money goes towards helping a sponsor puppy through its training and helping a deaf person to leave loneliness behind.