Being born deaf means making adjustments in most aspects of life, and Janet from St. Michael, has handled things head on with boldness and grace. In 1997, her first Hearing Assist Dog, Tiger, joined her family, and for 13 wonderful years, he alerted her to sounds of the world around her.
After Tiger’s passing and a divorce in 2011, Janet’s life became complicated. “Things became difficult without Tiger, “Janet says, “I had to thrive to the best of my abilities with some assistance from my daughter.”
It was hard for Janet to rely on people to let her know the phone was ringing or someone was at the door. She had to be extra cautious when cooking because she no longer had Tiger to alert her to the timer going off. She missed her partner but felt her life wasn’t stable enough for her to train with a new Hearing Assist Dog.
That all changed in 2018 when she married Patrick, who is also deaf. Patrick knew how much Tiger had helped Janet and encouraged her to look into getting a new partner. “Patrick sometimes works the night shift and he wanted me to feel safe in our house when he was gone,” says Janet.
Janet again turned to Can Do Canines, and in June 2019, was matched with Qeen, an energetic, black Labrador Retriever. Qeen wanted to work, and Janet was impressed by how eager she was to be busy.
A big change from when Janet got Tiger is that Can Do Canines now pre-trains Hearing Assist Dogs so they know the sounds of a smoke alarm, doorbell and timer before they ever meet their clients. This enables the clients to concentrate on basic handling skills and teaching the dog their way of communication, whether it be verbally or via sign language.
“It is so nice that the dogs already know some of the sounds when they move in,” said Janet happily. “It makes it so much easier to teach things like the alarm clock ringing.”
Qeen did have one “alert” that Janet had to change. “Whenever Qeen would be bored during training, she would “sit pretty” (sitting upright with her front paws in the air) to get everyone’s attention. I had to make sure I didn’t react to it or she would do it all the time.” So Janet came up with a way to put it on cue. Now Qeen only will “sit pretty” when Janet gives her the “I Love You” sign in sign language.
Janet has so much joy with Qeen. “She is a very cuddy dog, yet is able to alert me to sounds. She likes to work, and loves her daily morning walks and evening playtime! She loves to play with her stuffed animals during her down time and tries to get our cat, Angel, to play with her.”
“By having Qeen, I feel safer and have more confidence knowing Qeen will alert me to the sounds. She is very attached to me and is by my side wherever I go.”
Janet is very grateful to Can Do Canines. “Can Do Canines is an amazing service for those who need service dogs! Throughout the years, they have done so much to better help us who need them! Whenever I look at Qeen, I feel so grateful for this beautiful gift you have given me. She receives so much love!”
Janet wants to say “Thank you” to Qeen’s puppy raiser, fosters and inmate handlers as well as all the donors for their priceless donations of time and money. “Please do keep up with the awesome work you do; trainers, puppy raisers, fosters and inmate handlers, your jobs are a long-lasting precious gift!”