On 10th October 2013, Helen White and her hearing dog Bruno attended the star-studded annual Hearing Dog Awards at London’s Regents University, and won the ROYAL CANIN® Life Changing Partnership of the Year award. The award was presented to her by British actor Martin Freeman, who has recently become involved in the charity.
Helen White has had to battle with so many traumas and has suffered from mental health problems and depression for most of her adult life. Helen is also Deaf/Blind and found it very difficult to interact with the outside world and over the years her pride and confidence has slithered away, making it hard for her to leave the house.
As if that wasn’t enough, Helen now has lymphoma cancer and is currently going through Chemotherapy, whilst her husband has recently been diagnosed with MS.
However, since she was given the gift of a hearing dog from charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, her life has been transformed. Helen describes her first meeting with Bruno as ‘love at first sight’ and says, “I can go out now, without the fear of people not understanding. They see Bruno, they see his jacket, they know he is a hearing dog and they know that I am deaf. He keeps me well mentally and if I’m down, he gives me a cuddle. Bruno makes me feel like the person I was before I became unwell.”
Helen was nominated for the ROYAL CANIN® Life Changing Partnership award by her husband Tony, following a frightening fall in the garden. Thankfully, hearing dog Bruno, a Spinone cross Retriever, was able to alert Helen by using a command that hearing dogs are trained for called “the call”, so she could come and help her husband to his feet.
Michele Jennings, CEO of Hearing Dogs for Deaf People says, “Helen has faced some incredibly tough challenges throughout her lifetime, yet her partnership with Bruno has changed her life and given her the confidence to make friends and go to the shops on her own.
This award demonstrates how much of a difference hearing dogs make on people’s lives, they become a constant companion and an important member of the family.”
The tenth Hearing Dogs Awards celebrated inspirational stories from hearing dogs and their owners, and also praised the hard work of the charity’s volunteers with the Volunteer and Ambassador of the Year awards.
Hearing Dogs for Deaf People is a registered charity that trains dogs to alert deaf people to household sounds and danger signals such as the doorbell, telephone and smoke alarm – providing life-changing independence and confidence. The Charity has its own breeding scheme, provides a national service and no charge is made to its recipients. Since its inception in 1982, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People has placed more than 1830 hearing dogs.
For more information visit: www.hearingdogs.org.uk