Therapy dogs, and specifically Hearing Ear dogs, can significantly improve the lives of those with hearing loss. Alerting their owners to potential danger, letting them know when someone rings the doorbell, and providing a sense of security and companionship are just a few ways they can make a world of difference in their owners’ lives. However, getting a Hearing Ear dog from a reputable organization can be complex and time-consuming. If you know someone who could benefit from a Hearing Ear dog, you can help them throughout the process in the following ways:
Make sure getting a service dog is the right decision
While Hearing Ear dogs are trained to serve their owners, they are still pets and require significant care and attention. Talk to your friend or relative about whether they’re ready to make the commitment to own a service dog. Is their home big enough for a pet? Will their lifestyle/schedule allow them to take care of it? Can they afford the costs of food and vet bills? Since any service dog organization will ask potential owners these questions to see if they qualify, making sure they can handle the responsibilities upfront will help them make the right decision.
Support your loved one through the process
Since researching the various organizations that train Hearing Ear dogs can take a lot of time, you can offer to help. Just remember, your family member or friend will likely have to travel to the facility for training and to pick up the dog, so take location into consideration. Once deciding on an organization, they may appreciate support for the rest of the process. For example, they’ll have to fill out a lengthy application, secure documentation from their physician that they can take care of a dog, participate in a phone interview, and possibly have someone from the organization conduct a home visit. Anything you can do to assist during these steps, even if it’s just providing moral support, can help someone with hearing loss get through what is often a stressful process.
Help someone with hearing loss prepare for their dog
Welcoming any new pet can be an adjustment, so helping your friend or relative prepare for the arrival of the Hearing Ear dog can help ease the transition. Whether making their home more pet-friendly or providing various supplies they’ll need to take care of their new service dog, such contributions can go a long way in helping both human and canine adjust to their new lives.
Donate to service dog organizations so others can benefit
Service dog organizations typically provide dogs at no cost to the owner, relying on donations to cover the expenses of raising and training their animals. Even after someone you know receives their Hearing Ear dog, you can always donate to the organization. Doing so will advance their mission of providing more people with hearing loss with the loyal companions to help them overcome the daily challenges they face.