What do the animals in your life help you see and hear that you would miss without them?

“The Dog Who Helps Me Hear” was first published in the Angel Animals Story of the Week Newsletter on January 16 2010.  Reprinted with permission. To subscribe send a blank message to AngelAnimals-on@mail-list.com.


By Jennifer Warsing

Take a moment to sit down, close your eyes, and listen to your environment. What do you hear? The world is full of buzzing, beeps, rings, and whistles. Those sounds are not included in my world. Why is that, you wonder?

I am deaf and since the age of five, the “sounds” of my world consist of mere silence. In my home, the oven timer’s joyous beep continues on ignored until I am aware of the smell of burning food.

The telephone’s ring isn’t heard. Calls from family and friends go by without a friendly greeting of hello. The doorbell’s warm reminder that company awaits fails to be recognized; therefore, company comes and goes without greeting.

My nights are filled with sleeplessness and dread that the smoke detector’s lifesaving blare will signal and go by unheard. I lay awake each night consumed with fear.

One could think of it as turning down the volume for my life to zero. That is, until I found the link to my environment and my world — a chocolate Labrador retriever named Hattie. She is a hearing dog from Dogs for the Deaf, Inc.

Hattie was adopted from a shelter by Dogs for the Deaf and went through eight months of hearing dog training in order to become my ears. Hattie is trained to alert me to the oven timer, doorbell/door knock, microwave, alarm clock, telephone, smoke detector, and someone calling my name.

Hattie arrived on September 14, 2007 and has completely transformed my life. I often say, that is the day my life truly began; I have been re-born! She has created a life of many firsts for me in the two years we have been a team.

My nights are now filled with blissful sleep, because I know Hattie will alert me to the smoke detector and any impending sounds of danger. My home is no longer engulfed by the smells of burnt food, because I failed to hear the oven timer’s beep.

Company is now greeted at the door with my friendly smile and a chocolate Lab full of love. The telephone is answered with an enthusiastic hello. I no longer walk alone with a nervous gait. My steps are filled with independence, and my head is held high, thanks to my faithful companion, my ears, my Hattie.

Hattie has enabled me to transform my hearing disability into one of infinite possibilities. My home life is no longer one of fear and dread. Every crevice of my home bustles with sound, peace, love, and joy. I am fully aware of the sounds in my world. Silence no longer pervades my soul.

When I am outside, my faithful companion, my hearing dog taps me and alerts me to look up. I see a flock of geese flying overhead or a squirrel scurrying across the fence. I have “heard” birds territorially fighting over a newly built nest. A fire truck or ambulance dutifully drives by, and Hattie makes me aware of the sounds in my environment.

If ever God intended for an angel to be sent my way, he did so in tenfold. When he sent Hattie to me, he truly answered my prayers. Hattie may not have a halo or wings but she is my divine intervention. My life, my world is now full of sound, and my ears have chocolate fur, a tail, and a heart of gold!

Visit www.angelanimals.net/nlimage26.html to view an image of Jennifer and Hattie.

Jennifer Warsing has been deaf since the age of five due to Meniere’s Disease. Hattie is a hearing dog who was trained by Dogs for the Deaf, located in Central Point, Oregon. Since Hattie’s arrival, Jennifer’s life and home are forever filled with sound and she hasn’t looked back since. Jennifer says, “Hattie is my life, my ears and my best friend! She is truly and angel in disguise.”


What do the animals in your life help you see and hear that you would miss without them?
Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network

Note: To subscribe to the Angel Animals Story of the Week Newsletter, send a blank message to AngelAnimals-on@mail-list.com

Have you been able to help a pet find a new, safe, and loving home?

Finding a New Home

When a person must separate from a pet who has been a member of the family, it can be heartbreaking. It eases the pain if the person helps the animal relocate to a new home.

We often get calls from people who must give up their pets. They are heartbroken, and the only solace they have is that someone responsible will love and care for their animal friend. Sending a beloved pet to an animal shelter, where his or her fate will be unknown, is unbearable.

This week, we received a call from a young woman who is being deployed to Kuwait in early February. She had made arrangements with someone to care for her Great Dane while she would be out of the country. The deal had fallen through. Now, she has only a few weeks to find a new home for the dog.

By now, she has enough leads to help her with this dilemma. But we wanted to share one with you in case you know someone else in her situation. Guardian Angels for Soldiers Pets, www.guardianangelsforsoldierspet.org is set up specifically to foster pets of soldiers who are leaving to serve their country.

As people age and have to move to assisted living or places that don’t allow pets and with housing foreclosures that force people out of their homes, the displacement of pets has intensified.

We encourage you to look around in your communities, churches, and neighborhoods for those who could use a paw up in finding new homes for their animal companions. It may only take a few phone calls or a bit of internet research. You could save some lives and ease the burden of those whose hearts are aching.

On another note, in consideration for animals who struggle to stay alive and be rescued in Haiti, remember the animal organizations that are going there to help.

To keep informed about the animal side of the situation, subscribe to the newsletter provided by www.kinshipcircle.org.

United Animal Nations and other animal welfare and rescue organizations are sending their rescue teams to Haiti. They have formed an umbrella organization called Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH). To learn more about this and donate, go to www.uan.org/index.cfm?navid=670

Have you been able to help a pet find a new, safe, and loving home?

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network

Note: To subscribe to the Angel Animals Story of the Week Newsletter, send a blank message to AngelAnimals-on@mail-list.com

Who has believed in your potential when no one else could see it?

First published by Angel Animals Story of the Week, January 9, 2010. Reprinted with permission. To subscribe to the Angel Animals Story of the Week Newsletter, send a blank message to AngelAnimals-on@mail-list.com

By Kathe Campbell

A horse’s shocking year, as told to me by loving animal sanctuary folks in Montana — his ominous days before mending at my mountain ranch.

The young Mustang’s life was unruffled, his fodder and spring graze lush, while he contemplated his prime and lived near kin. The fields and pastures were seasonally green, and the rancher forked up two squares a day, lending belly comfort and warmth to the horse’s life even through winter’s chill. Then some folks arrived on the scene to take the youngster away. He left his ma and sidekicks while being prodded into a tiny horse trailer.

Life was now simpler for the gelding, no long green valleys, nobody to run the rivers with.  The hard case that bought the horse was unkind, jerking the youngin’ around while breaking him to saddle, and forcing that cussed bit.

Horse, as the new person called the Mustang, had never known about newfangled shouts, curses, and whippings that he was getting from the man’s leather quirt.  The youngster’s fare dissipated into mostly weeds and dandelions, stale ditch water, and nary one sweet handful of oats.  Worse, he stood afire under summer’s fierce rays while ogling grazing cattle across the fence.

The lady crawled upon Horse’s back for a spell, seemingly content with her new pony as they walked along the dirt road on fair afternoons.  But for an occasional cake of grass hay tossed over his rails by a kind neighbor, Horse was left to languish in the bare and dusty pen.  By summer’s end, his once sleek sorrel coat became pocked and dull, and his raw-boned hips and neck were bit through by a range of pesky chiggers.

Come evening, the man and lady screeched and hollered so loud as to make Horse’s ears twitch.  Sometimes the lady came flying off the back porch, only to lay bellerin’ in the dirt.  Often, the man became so angry, he swore and threw his fist through the window of their unholy little weather-beaten shack.

Autumn came, and the man left the place in his old rusty pickup. The weeds in Horse’s pen were done for, and yet seldom did a soul come with a cake of fodder.  Now and then the offish lady fetched a few handfuls of bunch grass from the yard, always carrying that rank bottle of lightening.  If she’d only offer to take Horse for a ride, he could easily harvest a meal from the dusty grass alongside the road, but it wasn’t to be.

The first snows saw the woman leaving early in the mornings, never seen till after dark throughout blizzards and hard freeze. She emerged nightly from her little car plumb full as a tick, mumbling nonsense as she weaved her way to the house.  Horse whinnied, cribbed on the rails, and kicked the boards, but the lady never turned the lights on or gave him a thought.  Crowbait now, and a layer of snow covering his back, icicles hung long and heavy from the Mustang’s mane.

Looking as though the half dead animal was ready for the bone orchard, a lady from the local animal sanctuary appeared. She opened Horse’s pen and ran gentle hands over his sorry body, murmuring soft sounds of love and reassurance.

Soon a horse trailer arrived, and Horse threaded his thin and weary legs up the ramp. But his knees collapsed, leaving him a crippled heap of filthy flesh and bone.  Kind folks helped him walk into a warm stall where he bedded for days with hay, oats, and fresh water. At only three years old, his way of going seemed lost, and unless salvaged, he’d be put out of his misery.

Weeks passed, and another horse trailer pulled alongside Horse’s stall. Other folks blanketed his emaciated carcass before escorting him inside.  After a long journey the doors opened to the scent of green sprouts in a field and the loping hooves of donkeys rushing to greet the pitiful wretch.  He was turned loose to the glory of it all — a barn, alfalfa hay, and clean running water when he thirsted. Horse was free.

Shivering and gasping at the sight, I saw Horse’s scrawny neck schmoozing my donkeys across the fence one early morn.  “So you’re our rescue baby, you sorrowful thing,” I tearfully whispered, caressing his head against my chest.  “We’ll bring you about.”

Horse was made welcome in a clean, straw-filled stall when he needed comfort and seclusion.  I brushed his coat daily, clipped and filed his split hooves, shared carrots, and assured him he had a home if he was a mind to stay.

He was high maintenance in the beginning and stayed for a goodly time at our ranch, high in the Montana mountains.  When we saddled up and rode the hills and forests on our big champion donkeys, Horse trailed along until he amassed the sleek coat, bulk, and muscle he was born with.

The day came when we shook hands and hugged a dear old friend as he and his small Indian grandson emerged from their truck. Horse had never seen a shave tail before and seemed taken with the boy’s tawny skin, shiny black hair, and winning smile.

The lad crawled up on Horse bareback, pulled gently on the reins, and spoke kind words as they rode the acres.  This was surely the best birthday present the youngster ever had, as the Mustang walked easily into their trailer to go home.  They called him “Freedom.”

Kathe lives on a Montana mountain with her mammoth donkeys, a Keeshond, and a few kitties.  She is a prolific writer on Alzheimer’s, and her stories are found on many ezines.  Kathe is a contributing author to the Chicken Soup For The Soul and Cup of Comfort series, numerous anthologies, RX for Writers, and medical journals.  Email her at <kathe @ wildblue.net>


Who has believed in your potential when no one else could see it?

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network

Note: To subscribe to the Angel Animals Story of the Week Newsletter, send a blank message to AngelAnimals-on@mail-list.com