Chris and Hearing Dog Masie

I first learned about the Hearing Ear Dog Program (now NEADS) in an article in the Disabled American Veterans magazine in 1982. I contacted the program and was interviewed and matched with my first Hearing Dog, Fitzgerald, a Black Lab/Pit-Bull mix. Fitzy was with me from 1983 until 1994. He was followed in 1993 by Traveler, a Shepherd/Corgi mix rescue dog, and Crykey, a Black Lab/Collie mix shelter dog from Tennessee, in 2004. My fourth Hearing Dog, Fergie, was a smooth coat Collie who was with me until she passed away in September 2017. In 2016, I was partnered with my fifth Hearing Dog, Masie, a Black Lab who has now assumed the “boss of my life” title from Fergie.

HELPING EARS. People who can hear don’t know what it’s like to not have that sense to rely on. All five of my Hearing Dogs have allowed me to live independently. I’m severely hard of hearing, so living alone wouldn’t be safe without trained Hearing Dogs to help me know what’s happening around me and my home. When not wearing my Cochlear Implant processors, I’m as deaf as a post, and Masie becomes my ears. I’m able to sleep at night knowing she will wake me up if something happens.

NEADS provides people with the ability to live independently without having to rely upon other people; it’s a huge step for those who are hard of hearing, deaf, or otherwise disabled.