Cre­at­ing life chang­ing part­ner­ships

Uni­ver­sal Care in Bea­cons­field is cel­e­brat­ing its 30th an­niver­sary by sup­port­ing 30 lo­cal and na­tional char­i­ties over 30 weeks from April 4 to Oc­to­ber 28. Each char­ity will re­ceive a cash do­na­tion and free use of Uni­ver­sal Care’s con­fer­ence room to use as

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UNI­VER­SAL Care is host­ing a ‘Paws for Cof­fee’ event from 10am to 4pm, Thurs­day, Au­gust 18 at Uni­ver­sal Care’s of­fice, Ch­ester House, 9 Wind­sor End, Bea­cons­field Bucks HP9 2JJ.

Join us for the Hear­ing Dog demon­stra­tions on The Green (op­po­site the of­fice), have the op­por­tu­nity to meet some of the pup­pies in train­ing, learn more about the work of this amaz­ing char­ity and en­joy re­fresh­ments served at Ch­ester House

Hear­ing Dogs for Deaf Peo­ple is a na­tional char­ity which trains hear­ing dogs to alert deaf peo­ple to im­por­tant sounds and dan­ger sig­nals in the home, work place and in pub­lic build­ings that they would oth­er­wise miss.

Hear­ing Dogs was launched at the world fa­mous Crufts dog show in 1982 and since then we have cre­ated over 2,000 life chang­ing part­ner­ships be­tween deaf peo­ple and hear­ing dogs across the UK.

There are cur­rently over 900 work­ing part­ner­ships in the coun­try.

We train hear­ing dogs to alert deaf chil­dren and adults to im­por­tant sounds and dan­ger sig­nals such as the alarm clock, door bell, tele­phone, a baby’s cry and the smoke alarm – pro­vid­ing in­de­pen­dence, con­fi­dence and valu­able com­pan­ion­ship. Hear­ing dogs alert their deaf re­cip­i­ents to sounds by touch­ing them with a paw or nudg­ing their leg with their nose to gain at­ten­tion.

The re­cip­i­ent then asks the dog ‘what is it?’ us­ing a hand sig­nal and the dog leads the re­cip­i­ent to the source of the sound. For dan­ger sig­nals such as a smoke alarm, the hear­ing dog will alert the re­cip­i­ent in the same way, but when asked ‘what is it?’ the dog will in­stead lie down to in­di­cate dan­ger and that the deaf per­son should evac­u­ate the build­ing.

The breeds we train to be­come hear­ing dogs are Labradors, Golden Re­triev­ers, Cocker Spaniels Minia­ture Poo­dles and Cock­er­poos.

Through many years of prac­tice, we have dis­cov­ered that these are the best breeds for the job in terms of tem­per­a­ment, train­abil­ity and char­ac­ter.

We have our own breed­ing scheme and also adopt a hand­ful of pup­pies from rep­utable breed­ers.

The train­ing of a hear­ing dog takes around 18 months, con­sist­ing of ini­tial puppy so­cial­i­sa­tion train­ing with vol­un­teers be­fore mov­ing onto sound work train­ing; usu­ally at one of our two train­ing cen­tres.

Once fully trained the dog is then very care­fully matched to an ap­pli­cant based on a num­ber of cri­te­ria such as life­style, hob­bies, and other needs. The re­cip­i­ent and hear­ing dog then spend a pe­riod of time train­ing to­gether, be­fore qual­i­fy­ing as an of­fi­cial part­ner­ship.

Hear­ing dogs are eas­ily recog­nis­able by their dis­tinc­tive bur­gundy jacket and lead slips, which help to sig­nal the re­cip­i­ents oth­er­wise in­vis­i­ble disability, bring­ing in­creased peace of mind for the deaf per­son.

Deaf­ness can be an in­cred­i­bly iso­lat­ing and lonely disability, and a hear­ing dog pro­vides life-chang­ing in­de­pen­dence, in­creased con­fi­dence, com­pan­ion­ship and a feel­ing of se­cu­rity.

For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion, please see the web­site www. hear­ing­dogs.org.uk.

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