Deaf seven-year-old Evie Crook has a new best friend - a specially trained hearing dog.
Evie is the youngest person to get an assistance dog and her confidence is starting to skyrocket. Since getting Gem she is sleeping in her own bed for the first time and is much more chatty, her parents say. “I love Gem more than 10 million bags of sugar!,” the youngster told Sky News. Evie is severely deaf, and is one of 12 children taking part in a trial organised by the Hearing Dogs for Deaf People charity. Previously only deaf people over the age of 18 have been allowed to work with hearing dogs.
Evie, who lives in Derbyshire with mum Becky, dad Dave, and big sister Maddy, is the only one in her family with hearing difficulties. It is a condition that can sometimes leave her feeling isolated, and was leading to more serious behavioural problems. She suffered sleep traumas and would often wander off when in public. But her family say that since Evie was paired up with Gem all their lives have changed immeasurably. Becky says: “Gem trots round everywhere after Evie, it’s almost like she’s checking where she’s going, which I know Evie is finding reassuring.”