Kate Thurman

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When I brought my first Hearing Dog, Cheyenne (pictured here), home from NEADS in 2006, I knew I'd sleep better with a working set of ears at night, but I had no idea just how profoundly my sweet girl would change my life. If at any point over our decade together, you watched the two of us walk down the sidewalk, you would see our heads turn in near unison, mine following hers as she alerted me to everything from someone calling my name to a cyclist coming up from behind us. While it's true that I felt far more secure when I was with Chey, she would go on to become much more than my ears; she was my best friend, and to say it was devastating to lose her very suddenly to an aggressive tumor this past fall would be a gross understatement.

Although I hear fairly well with my cochlear implants, I still miss a lot, particularly at nighttime when I remove my processors and am left with no residual hearing at all. As a single woman living alone, I slept much more soundly knowing that Cheyenne would wake me up should the smoke alarm go off, someone knock on the door or, god forbid, try to break in. The one time I got hit by a cyclist riding down the sidewalk was when Chey was not at my side to alert me of the oncoming danger. And, my keys would have been lost many times over had Cheybers (she had no shortage of nicknames, that one!) not alerted me to the sound of them dropping!

While there will never be another Cheybie, I have a whole lot of love in my heart just waiting to be doled out to my next Hearing Dog. I miss the independence and sense of safety I had with a working set of ears at my side.

The total cost of raising and training a single Hearing Dog exceeds $42,000. I have agreed to raise a minimum of $8,000 to help NEADS offset the expense. Please consider contributing to Hearing Dog 2.0's training, or, if you are not in a position to make a tax-deductible donation, please help by sharing my story!

With deep gratitude,