Bob Reynolds & Hearing Assist Dog Sophia
By Patti Miller
Life is full of sounds. Sounds alert us to fires, phone calls, visitors, text messages, emergency vehicles, severe weather, and so much more. Sounds of laughter, birds chirping, babies crying, dogs barking or tires screeching can be more than just sounds. If your world had limited sound, how would you cope?
An accident left Bob Reynolds of Hudson, Wisconsin with a baseline skull fracture at age 25. He immediately lost all hearing in his left ear while hearing in his right ear was compromised. The doctors’ concerns that Bob would eventually lose complete hearing in his right ear have started to become reality.
After 25 years as an actuary, the stress of possibly missing parts of conversations and the anxiety caused by the tinnitus, forced Bob into early retirement. Tinnitus causes constant ringing, clicking, gushing, or whistling in one or both ears. As he continues to lose hearing in his right ear, the tinnitus worsens. Bob jokes, “I can’t hear anything, yet it sounds noisy”.
With the help of his wife, Angie, his children, Claire and Max, and his spirituality, Bob has been able to manage his hearing loss. Hearing aids have also helped to filter outside sounds and bring them in. But the fact remains that with constant noise, life can be difficult.
During a clinical visit, Bob’s doctor mentioned Can Do Canines and asked if he had ever heard of Hearing Assist Dogs. Bob’s response, “You mean like a seeing eye dog?”
Enter Sophia, the Hearing Assist Dog that Can Do Canines matched with Bob. The Black Labrador Retriever was a pretty big contrast to the low-maintenance cat the family currently owned. But the family welcomed Sophia, saying the adjustments they needed to make were worth it.
Just like his hearing loss, training and getting accustomed to cues, signs, and general dog behavior has been a gradual learning process. Bob admits to sometimes being impatient and wanting to do things his way, but with the guidance of Can Do Canines, Bob says he’s learning more about what Sophia can do for him. He realizes his training with her will continue and the bond they share will grow deeper with time.
Bob recently took Sophia in her Can Do Canines training cape to a grocery store. A man approached the two, commenting on how well-behaved Sophia was. “Whoever gets this dog is going to be very lucky,” he said, mistaking Bob for a trainer instead of a client. As he walked away, Bob realized just how lucky he was to have Sophia.
There is no way to replace his hearing loss, but Sophia can be his bridge to a world full of sound. By accepting Sophia as the gift she is, unwrapping her full potential, Bob and his family can enjoy a better quality of life. This story, family, assistance dog, and all the Can Do Canines supporters are the sounds to which we can all rejoice!
Thank you to all those who made this partnership possible:
Great Start Home: The Essen family
Puppy Raiser: The Inmate Handlers at FCI Sandstone
Dog Source: Marti and Ken Anderson
Special Thanks: Linda and Dean Wedul
You: Thank you for your donations!