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A Christmas present that changed a deaf man’s life

Posted Nov 30 2010 4:58pm

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Last Christmas the life of Ken James from Brighton was transformed when he received a very special Christmas gift; hearing dog Zoe, a two year old flat coat retriever x Labrador. One year on, the dynamic duo are the stars of Hearing Dogs for Deaf People’s Christmas fundraising appeal.

Ken, who had been deaf since he was two years old, had grown up in an orphanage feeling isolated and lonely. Even as an adult he still wouldn’t go to the shops on his own because of his ingrained lack of confidence.

But this all changed when Hearing Dogs for Deaf People gave him his first hearing dog, Drake.

Ken says: “I got Drake when I was studying for a university degree and he made such a difference to my life. I eventually graduated and became a qualified social worker. Drake was beside me every step of the way and I was devastated when he passed away. I started to become a bit of a recluse again and I began to miss callers at the door, as there was no companion to let me know when the doorbell rang. Then last Christmas Zoe came into my life and everything changed for the better.”

Not only has Zoe given Ken confidence to leave his home safe in the knowledge that her special burgundy hearing dog jacket will alert people to his otherwise, largely, invisible disability, she also alerts him to sounds and danger signals such as the alarm clock, doorbell, mobile text messages and smoke alarm.

Ken explains: “Zoe came to me in December last year, and what a fantastic Christmas present she was. Very soon we went Christmas shopping together – which was something I would never have done without her. She was really calm with the crowds and I felt at ease myself in a way that I just couldn’t have on my own”.

Ken concludes: “Hearing Dogs for Deaf People is a wonderful organisation, and Zoe is a wonderful friend. I’ll be saying thank you for the rest of my years, and I know it still won’t be enough to repay what they, all their supporters and, most of all, Zoe have given me.”

We desperately need your help to create more life-changing hearing dog partnerships like Ken and Zoe. If you would like to support our Christmas Appeal please call 01844 348148 (voice and minicom), email info@hearingdogs.org.uk or visit www.hearingdogs.org.uk.

Ken says: “I got Drake when I was studying for a university degree and he made such a difference to my life. I eventually graduated and became a qualified social worker. Drake was beside me every step of the way and I was devastated when he passed away. I started to become a bit of a recluse again and I began to miss callers at the door, as there was no companion to let me know when the doorbell rang. Then last Christmas Zoe came into my life and everything changed for the better.”

Not only has Zoe given Ken confidence to leave his home safe in the knowledge that her special burgundy hearing dog jacket will alert people to his otherwise, largely, invisible disability, she also alerts him to sounds and danger signals such as the alarm clock, doorbell, mobile text messages and smoke alarm.

Ken explains: “Zoe came to me in December last year, and what a fantastic Christmas present she was. Very soon we went Christmas shopping together – which was something I would never have done without her. She was really calm with the crowds and I felt at ease myself in a way that I just couldn’t have on my own”.

Ken concludes: “Hearing Dogs for Deaf People is a wonderful organisation, and Zoe is a wonderful friend. I’ll be saying thank you for the rest of my years, and I know it still won’t be enough to repay what they, all their supporters and, most of all, Zoe have given me.”

If you would like to support the Hearing Dogs Christmas Appeal please call 01844 348148 (voice and minicom), email info@hearingdogs.org.uk or visit www.hearingdogs.org.uk.

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