Hearing Dog in the Making

Monday, November 24, 2014

Edison the Shih Tzu is a quick learner and will soon know how to alert people when the phone or doorbell rings, and when a smoke alarm goes off.

Nearly halfway through his training at the New Zealand Hearing Dogs School, Edison is proving he’s got what it takes to become a qualified hearing dog.

Powerco is contributing towards the cost of putting the pup through his paces at the New Plymouth-based facility.

NZ Hearing Dogs General Manager Clare McLaughlin said the dogs were matched with a hearing impaired or deaf person and taught the specialised tasks required in their new surroundings.

She said it took around six months to train dogs to the stage where they were ready to move in with their new owners.

“Not only do hearing dogs need to know what sounds to recognise, they also need to be comfortable in busy public places like airports and shopping malls.”

She said Edison was showing potential and already knew how to alert people to the phone ringing.

“He’s very laid back and loves being around people. He will make a great companion.”

She said Powerco’s donation of $10,000 had gone towards the costs of Edison’s training.

“Without the generous support from companies like Powerco we would struggle to provide this essential service to the deaf and hearing impaired. Hearing dogs give them greater independence and confidence to go about their daily activities.”

Powerco Corporate Affairs Manager Neil Holdom said the company believed one of its responsibilities was supporting the communities in which it operated.

“We’re enjoying following Edison’s progress and proud we can play a part in making a real difference to the life of a deaf or hearing impaired person.”


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