A Filey woman is on a mission to raise awareness of hearing dogs after becoming an ambassador for the national charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.
Rosemary Harrison, of Windmill Drive, suffered hearing loss at the age of nine when she had meningitis.
She has had her eight-year-old hearing dog, Hanson, for six years and he has transformed her life.
Rosemary now wants to make other people aware of the benefits of having a hearing dog and to encourage people with hearing loss to apply for one.
She explained: “People tend to know about guide dogs, but not so much about hearing dogs. There aren’t that many in this area.
“I want to raise awareness and make sure people know how to apply, as there can be quite a long waiting list.”
Rosemary, who was living in Hertfordshire at the time, waited three years to get Hanson, who is a Labrador/Golden Retriever cross and was trained up for two years.
She said: “He had to be top level so I could take him in to where I worked at Harrow Land Registry.
“I also suffer from balance problems, so it was better for me to have a big dog.”
Hanson alerts Rosemary to things like the doorbell and smoke alarm. He is trained to lie flat on the ground if he hears a fire alarm when they are out shopping.
She said: “Being deaf can be very isolating as you can get left out of conversations.
“But with Hanson, when I go out I get besieged! It draws people in.
“People come over and start talking to me. They ask questions and it breaks the ice.
“It also breaks down barriers.
“I’m hoping to help deaf people locally by making them aware of the difference these dogs can make.
“It’s quite life changing.”
Rosemary and her husband Paul are now gearing up to give talks to local groups, such as the WI, Rotary and schools - anyone who is interested in finding out more can get in touch.
The pair are also hoping to raise funds for the charity.
To find out more, call (01723) 515572 or email firstname.lastname@example.org