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13/11/01
Daisy gets a farewell kiss, but needs a sponsor

Italian Spinone Samson gives Daisy a tiny terrier cross a gentle farewell kiss. Seeing them side-by-side it is hard to imagine what the two dogs have in common. But Samson (18 months) and Daisy (14 months) have a surprising and special bond as both dogs are in their final stage of training as hearing dogs for deaf people.

As they are matched to a deaf person, each dog is allocated one and sometimes two sponsors; individuals, groups, clubs or companies, who have raised either 5,000 or 2,500 towards the training, placement and lifelong support of a hearing dog. Although Samson's training has been generously sponsored by Virgin Atlantic, sadly little Daisy is one of several hearing dogs still desperate for sponsorship.

There is an obvious attraction in sponsoring a handsome pedigree like Samson who was kindly donated to the Charity by his breeder. But not all hearing dogs have had the advantage of such a good start in life. Most, like Daisy, were just another unwanted dog in a rescue centre until the Charity spotted their potential. Samson and Daisy represent the very largest and smallest of dogs trained by the organisation, so it surprised everyone when this huge Italian Spinone also spotted little Daisy's potential. The two dogs became firm friends during their four months training at the Charity's Lewknor training centre.

Recently Samson left Lewknor to start his new life in the West Country, alerting his deaf recipient to important sounds around his home. Now, although still waiting for a sponsor, Daisy's role as a working hearing dog is also about to unfold. Trainer Lou Holmes said of her small charge; "I shall really miss Daisy, we just never stop smiling when she's around. For one so small she has enormous confidence and huge magnetic appeal." Samson obviously agrees.

Desperate appeal

It will be another three months before Samson, the Charity's 800th hearing dog, and Daisy complete their training with their deaf recipients and Hearing Dogs for Deaf People is desperately appealing to anyone willing to sponsor Daisy to get in touch. "We train and place about four hearing dogs each week and every dog needs a sponsor," said Christine Green, sponsorship secretary for the Charity. "In return a sponsor receives a framed colour photograph and information about the dog they have helped to train for a deaf person."

To find out how you can help to sponsor Daisy or another hearing dog, contact Christine Green on 01844 353898 or email: christine.green@hearing-dogs.co.uk for further information.

About Hearing Dogs for Deaf People Hearing Dogs for Deaf People is a registered charity that selects and trains dogs to respond to specific sounds. Around 75% of all hearing dogs are selected from rescue centres or other similar sources.

Hearing dogs alert deaf people by touch, using a paw to gain attention and then lead them back to the sound source. For sounds such as the smoke alarm and fire alarm the dogs will lay down to indicate danger.

Hearing Dogs for Deaf People provides a national service and no charge is made to recipients. Since its inception in 1982, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People has placed more than 800 hearing dogs. The Charity has three centres operating in the UK.