Eileen Hosie, from Bolton, Lancashire first met her hearing dog, Sian, in 2008 when she visited the Hearing Dogs for Deaf People’s northern training centre in Bielby, Yorkshire.
Eileen, 66, who has recently retired as a Deaf Instructor at a school for the Deaf in Bolton says, “We fell in love with each other from the start. Sian just had one of those cheeky faces that says; ‘you have to love me’”. Sian, a three year-old cairn terrier x with a toy poodle, eventually went to live with Eileen in January 2009 and instantly changed her life for the better.
Eileen gradually became deaf after she contracted ‘whooping cough’ when she was an infant and as a result was profoundly deaf by the time she was 20.
Says Eileen: “I’ve been deaf for most of my life and lip-read but I sometimes found this really stressful as I had to explain it to people and even then they would look away when speaking to me. I used to hate going out, even to do the weekly shop and had to let my husband, who is hearing do it”.
The difference Sian has made to Eileen’s life has been tremendous. Eileen no longer has to sit and look at the flashing door bell when she’s waiting for someone to call as Sian now alerts Eileen by touching her on the leg with her paw.
Sian also alerts Eileen to other everyday sounds including the smoke alarm where she alerts Eileen and then lies down to indicate that it’s a ‘danger’ sound. “I feel so confident knowing that Sian is there to support me. She even lets me know when my granddaughter needs me by using the ‘call’ command. I take her every-where with me including church where the children just love her. I now do lots of shopping and feel confident that people will realise that I’m deaf when they see Sian’s distinctive burgundy coat and that means I don’t have to explain my hearing difficulties all the time. All the stress has gone out of my life”.
Eileen has recently become a volunteer speaker for Hearing Dogs and says: “Sian has made such a huge difference to my life and that of my family’s that I wanted to give something back to Hearing Dogs, in the hope that I can repay some of the joy that has been given to me since Sian came into my life”.