Friday, 21 October 2016

Deaf Girly and the Hearing Dog

Meet Hebe – my dog daughter!
On this very Thankful Friday, I'd like to introduce you to Hebe – a Hearing-Dog-in-training – who I have sponsored with Hearing Times in return for writing my column for them. You can read all about that here

Sponsoring a Hearing Dog is very easy – you have several options: a monthly payment of £3, £5, or £10 a month or a one-off donation. The charity is very clear about how your donations are spent – examples include £10 paying for a selection of training aids and £30 being the amount needed to provide a Hearing Dog with its distinctive jacket and lead slip.

But that's not all. Here are five reasons why sponsoring a Hearing Dog is so great...

1. You get to be a fairy dogmother or dogfather

Since I met Hebe, I've been showing photos of her on my phone to anyone I meet at every opportunity. I would have put her on Facebook but I don't really use Facebook, but I get to boast that this gorgeous pooch is being trained to do something amazing and I'm helping! 

2. Get to tell chuggers very smugly that you already donate to a charity
I don't like chuggers and Hearing Dogs for Deaf People is very clear that it doesn't use them to raise money. In London, I get stopped every day by someone with a new pitch about why I should give them money. I don't like walking past and ignoring them – they are people after all – but I usually just say that I am already donating to my favourite charity and walk on. One time a chugger replied that I was clearly donating to the wrong charity and I put him straight and left him quietly contemplating his words.

3. You will change someone's life in a way you never imagined possible
When I went on the Hearing Dogs' tour of The Grange last week, I met people whose lives have been completely transformed by their partnership with a Hearing Dog. One lady had had four hearing dogs with her latest about to retire. She spoke about each one with such love and confidence, I actually had a little cry. 

4. You get to be a great present giver
Did you know that you can sponsor a Hearing Dog as a present for someone? That someone who always says, "Oh, I don't need anything..." and you're left panic buying them something on Christmas Eve in your local supermarket. This gift is brilliant – sponsors of Hearing Dogs get access to exclusive content, updates on their puppy and all sorts of other great things. You get to see your puppy grow up and get ready to change someone's life. I know I keep banging on about it being life changing, but it really is.

5. It's not all about sponsorship
Of course, I know that committing to a monthly sponsorship is not for everyone, but there are tonnes of other ways you can support Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. You can collect your stamps, which they then sell to raise money, you can share this blog, ask for a dog sponsorship for Christmas and tell everyone you meet about Hearing Dogs... 
My very lovely Ma does this at every opportunity – since we found out I was deaf aged 10, she's been a huge supporter of this charity. In her excitement she once called them Deaf Dogs for the Blind, but that's a whole other story!

My amazing dogdaughter Hebe who is learning to be a Hearing Dog

*Hearing Dogs did not ask or pay me to write this post. Due to the fact I am sponsoring Hebe with Hearing Times, they invited me to meet and see the amazing work they do. And it is amazing and I will happily shout about it all day long! 

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Always love on this day

Today I'm sat at my desk. I am at work.

On this day for too many years, I can remember exactly where I've been. The day, all those years ago, I remember the clearest.

Today is about remembering the person who taught me along side one my favourite people in the whole world to love the big scary world that is London. The guy who watched episode after episode of Grand Designs with me while drinking beer, who never criticised my inability to time cooking new potatoes with pie, meaning one was burnt if the others were edible, or the potatoes were more like weapons of mass destruction.

This is a person who watched Flashdance with me and remarked it was basically porn but still busted out some moves while making the best Thai green curry ever. A person who on his wedding day grinned so hard I thought his face might fall off – and as he was marrying one of the best people in the whole wide world, who could blame him.

He taught me how to buy a travel card when they still came in paper form, how to change platforms at Earls Court without asking for help, how to become a devotee to BBC Breakfast London Travel bulletins so that your entire morning wasn't ruined by a signal failure.

He taught me that sometimes when you pick up children, you drop them. That rice really does need to be soaked for longer than you think, so start cooking before you get hungry. That there is a limit of how many Krispy Kreme donuts a four-year-old child can eat and that yes, if you go over that, it ends up in a big big mess.

He also – and he never knew this – invented a new verb... "to Pret".

And so today, on this day, I am most definitely going "to Pret" and send all my love to wherever you are.