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

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