Eric Krupa & Princess
Eric's hearing loss, a result of brain damage at birth, was only detected about 7 years ago and is getting worse. His hearing dog Princess helps him to be more independent in his daily activities and alerts him to sounds that he is unable to hear.
Eric Krupa is 44 years old. He lives in Sandwich with his mother, Valerie, his father, Alfred and sister, Donna. Eric works at Capabilities and fills vending machines for a living. He is pleasant to be around and is light hearted and fun loving. We noticed he had a hearing problem about seven years ago. It has become progressivly worse. At that time he started wearing double hearing aids. He has more than a 65% hearing loss. He is also developmentally immature and learning disabled. He does however; read, write and use the telephone. He doesn't go out in public without another person. We can leave him home alone for 2 to 3 hours as long as we are in frequent communication. This past winter he was left alone while his mother went to the ER with the flu. While we were gone his sister tried calling him from work. He didnt answer the phone after repeated calls. She panicked and came home to check on him. Every thing was fine, he just didn't hear the phone. Now Princess can alert him to a ringing phone , fire alarms, door bells,knocks at the door and someone calling his name. This allows him to become more independent. We can now take him to the mall and allow him to wander freely with the Princess at his side.
While Eric is a happy young man, his past has been fraught with many hospitalizations and surgeries. He was born with several birth defects: Malrotation of the intestine, Duodenal blockage and Hirschprungs Disease. Hearing loss is the newest manifestation of his medical issues. He is also a diabetic but manages his diet and medication on his own. He does have learning diabilities but is really quite high functioning. We think that having Princess, which by the way is his sole responsiblility, will enhance the quality of his life, foster independence and a measure of safety, which he needs plus the bonus of companionship which is also important.
Due to the fact that Eric is developmentally delayed ; he falls through the cracks when it comes to peer relationships. There are not too many people around for Eric to hang out with, either they are "normal" or lower functioning and he finds it difficult to engage in any meaningful relationships outside his home. He has his family and that is pretty much it. And now Princess who has truly enriched his life.