THE INVALUABLE role of hearing dogs will be highlighted at a ‘flagship’ event at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum.
Hearing Dogs for Deaf People is a national charity, training dogs to alert people to important sounds and danger signals in the home, workplace and public buildings.
Diana Marangos, who lives in Climping and has been supported by the charity for many years, said she was very grateful for her support dog, Pepe.
“He makes me relax in the home, because I don’t have to worry about the doorbell and telephone,” she said.
At home, she has an amplified telephone, but without Pepe there to help she might not be able to hear it in the first place.
Diana first became involved with hearing dogs when she lived in London.
Having been deaf from a young age, she said the experience of having a hearing dog helped to make her feel a lot more confident.
Now, the charity has teamed up with the museum at Singleton to hold a special walk, open to all, on Sunday, September 21.
For the charity’s area fundraiser Nicholas Orpin, the venue on offer is perfect.
“What we need is exactly what we’ve got here,” he said. “A very prestigious venue that people would have an interest in coming to anyway.”
Under the slogan Paws for a Walk, the event sees the charity invite one and all, not just dog-walkers, to take part in a special walk to raise the profile and awareness of the importance of hearing dogs to deaf people.
Nicholas said he intended the Weald and Downland walk to be the flagship for the charity.
Several fundraisers and beneficiaries of the charity headed to the museum with their faithful hounds at the end of February for a risk assessment walk, to see whether the venue would be suitable for the walk, something everyone was in firm favour of by the end.
The walk will take place between 10.30am-12.30pm, with everyone able to go at their own time and pace, with tickets for the fundraiser priced at £10 for adults and £5 for children.
The museum has also offered to allow free entry for the day to anyone buying a ticket for the walk, which Nicholas described as a ‘fantastic offer’.
At the end of the risk assessment, everyone was thrilled with the prospect of holding the walk there on September 21.
“It’s been brilliant – everything that we imagined,” said Nicholas.
“It’s such an interesting and excellent venue. There’s so much to see – you could easily spend a day here.”
The charity was founded in 1982 and since then has created nearly 2,000 partnerships between dogs and deaf people.
The dogs are provided at no charge to people.
The partnership is unique, because each puppy is trained specifically to the needs of the individual with whom they have been paired.
The breeding, training, placement and lifelong care of each hearing dog costs around £45,000 for the charity so it is continually looking for fundraising events such as Paws for a Walk to continue its training and pairings.
Nicholas said the charity’s aim was to achieve its 2014th successful partnership in the year 2014.
To sign up for the walk, visit www.hearingdogs.org.uk