Australian Lions Hearing Dogs, Jakeb the 600th Hearing Dog this year!!

Since 1980 Australian Lions Hearing Dogs (ALHD) has been providing the gift of sound, free of charge, to Deaf and Hard of Hearing Australians through the training and delivery of Hearing Assistance Dogs out of its Verdun National Training Centre.

In October, ALHD reached another milestone in its almost 40 years with the delivery of their 600th dog, a labradoodle named Jakeb, to a deaf lady in Melbourne, Victoria. Jakeb’s recipient won’t be the only person in his new home to benefit from his work with the recipient’s husband and two of her three children also being deaf.

Australian Lions Hearing Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, from Chihuahuas to Labradors, with the majority sourced from pounds, shelters and rescue organisations. With demand for Hearing Dogs ever-increasing and fewer dogs in pounds, ALHD started a puppy program in 2018 which sources pups from reputable breeders and places them into family homes for six months where they can learn to be normal dogs before coming into training.

Through their training, Australian Lions Hearing Dogs are taught to alert to 10 common household sounds, which are later customised for each individual recipient. Sounds include doorbells, alarm clocks, baby cries and most importantly the smoke alarm. Each dog will recognise each sound, locate and physically alert its recipient before finally leading them to the source of the sound. In the event of a smoke alarm, the dog will physically touch and then drop in a warning signal to alert to danger within the home.

Each Australian Lions Hearing Dog has the same public access rights as guide dogs for the blind, and as such can accompany their recipient almost anywhere they go which includes shops, restaurants, workplaces, public transport, and planes. Commercial kitchens and areas in hospitals where you are required to gown and glove are the only exceptions.

Australian Lions Hearing Dogs give their recipients independence, awareness, security and peace of mind. 1 in 6 Australians suffers from some form of hearing loss which is expected to increase to 1 in 4 by 2050.

No Government support is received for the training program with 50% of funds being sourced from Lions Clubs across Australia and the rest from the generosity of the Australian Public and from bequests. It costs $37,000 to train and deliver each ALHD, but they are given out for free.

For more information check out ALHD on Facebook or www.hearingdogs.asn

Adelaide Vet proudly supports the Australian Lions Hearing Dogs program.

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