Hearing Dogs for Deaf People seeks Hitchin homes for pups in training

Anne and Amanda Banner from Hitchin with Roxy, left, and their own dog Boris.

Anne and Amanda Banner from Hitchin with Roxy, left, and their own dog Boris. - Credit: Archant

A charity that trains dogs to alert deaf people to important sounds is looking for dog-lovers in Hitchin to help care for the puppies they have in training.

Hearing Dogs for Deaf People relies on volunteer ‘puppy socialisers’ to look after the dogs and train them in their own homes from the age of eight weeks until between 14 and 16 months.

Anne Banner and her daughter-in-law Amanda, both from Hitchin, are two of more than 1,700 across the UK who fill this role with the charity.

They are training Roxy, a five-month-old yellow labrador. who lives with them along with their own golden retriever Boris.

“I have always been interested in assistance dogs so this seemed like a brilliant thing to do,” said Anne.

“My son and his wife Amanda live with me, so Amanda and I share the role and we absolutely love it.

“Roxy is gorgeous and incredibly bright. It doesn’t take long for her to learn a new skill!

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“Volunteering can be challenging and time-consuming, and you have to love early mornings, but watching Roxy grow and develop into a hearing dog, I feel as proud of her as I did my own children.”

Hearing Dogs volunteering manager Victoria Leedham said: “Our puppy socialisers give the puppies skills and obedience training, and take them along to weekly puppy classes and into as many different environments as possible.

“Taking them to shops, on public transport, and to busy towns and cafés gives the young dogs the confidence to accompany a deaf person everywhere they go when they become a hearing dog.

“Our puppy socialisers are fully supported by our expert dog trainers, who provide guidance every step of the way.

“As long as you have a car, a secure, private garden, and enough time to train a puppy daily, then we would absolutely love to hear from you. You really can make such an enormous difference.”

To find out more contact Hearing Dogs on 01844 348100 or volunteer@hearingdogs.org.uk.