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updated 12/10/01
Two of a kind

At first glance, you may think that Muppet, a Yorkshire Terrier Cross and George, a Pomeranian, do not have much in common - but you would be wrong. Not only were they both found as strays wandering the streets, but they have both been selected by the charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People to start training to alert deaf people to the everyday household sounds that the rest of us take for granted.

Muppet is about 14 months old and was found as a stray by a dog warden in Wales. He was not in a very good condition, his coat was poor and he was covered in fleas. He was taken to a local rescue kennels where he was held for the statutory seven days, after which the Charity's regional assessor, Janet Cogswell, was able to select him and place him with one of their volunteer socialisers in Buckinghamshire. He has now come back into the Charity's training centre to be assessed before progressing onto the advanced training where he will learn to respond to sounds such as the doorbell, telephone, smoke alarm and alarm clock.

Janet was also responsible for selecting 18-month-old George from Cheltenham Animal Shelter. He too was found straying on the streets, and although he is obviously a pure-bred Pomeranian, he was not claimed after seven days so Hearing Dogs placed him with one of their socialisers in Oxfordshire.

A spokesman for the Charity said, "We are always looking for dogs from rescue centres that have the potential to be hearing dogs, and we are delighted that George and Muppet will now have a secure and bright future as well as provide two deaf people with security, confidence and independence."