A dog that is learning to be the ears for a person with a hearing disability got a day off to play with children at a Spalding nursery.
Meg, an 11-month-old Spaniel pup, went along to the Puddleduck Day Nursery where two members of staff had agreed to be “Deaf for a Day” to help raise funds for the Hearing Dogs charity.
Puppy socialiser Rosemary Briston is often out and about with Meg, who has even been a special guest at a wedding at Crowland Abbey.
Rosemary said: “Meg has passed her first assessment to be a hearing dog, but she has been withdrawn from the breeding scheme as her natural instinct to ‘flush and chase’ birds has kicked in, so it takes a while for her to return if she starts to run.
“She is quick to learn and, as well as working to voice and hand commands in normal circumstances, she now works to the alarm clock and wakes us by jumping on the bed.
“We are doing the Kennel Club Good Citizens’ Bronze award next week and then it’s on to the Hearing Dogs two-star test, which is the next stage of training.
“Puddleducks was a very good experience for Meg, as we do not have young children at home.
“She loves youngsters and is very gentle with them.
“Two of the staff were ‘deaf for a day’ and wore ear defenders while at work.
“One of them said she was finding it very tiring and it was interesting to see how she was forming her words more carefully, using eye contact and her hands while talking.
“Our fundraiser Denise Taylor said this is the body’s way of asking people to speak to the deaf person in that way.”
The two staff members at the nursery in Holland Road – Karen Brookes and Iria Neighbour – were being sponsored and raised about £200 for the charity.
Anyone who would like to know more about taking part in Deaf for a Day or the Hearing Dogs charity should email Denise on firstname.lastname@example.org
Information on how to become a puppy socialiser is available by visiting www.hearingdogs.org.uk