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   Transforming the lives of people and dogs

Past News & Human Interest


Photo of two cats Yin and Yang

Yang, you were a wonderful, loving cat who enriched the lives of so many people and dogs at the original Hearing Dog Program. We will miss you but have many happy memories of your time with us. Your enjoyment of life made us all enjoy coming to work that much more.

Thank you, Matthew and Andy
for providing such a wonderful home for both Yin and Yang.

Bonnie and Divine

Photo of Bonnie and her hearing dog Devine
Photo of Bonnie kissing her hearing dog Devine

Bonnie Baron meets her new foster dog Divine, a career-change dog, donated to the Hearing Dog Program (HDP) by Guide Dogs for the Blind. Divine is settling in well and starting her sound-alert training. This is the latest dog that Bonnie has fostered. Her previous foster dog, Moufette, is now with a foster-trainer family to get a wide range of experiences Moufette stays overnight at Bonnie's home frequently for play dates with Bonnie's pet dog, Doxy, also a HDP career-change dog.

The entire family is enjoying the divine Miss Divine!

Puppy Raiser Becomes Recipient of Her Good Deed

San Francisco Chronicle, Wednesday, February 3, 2010

When experienced puppy raiser Linda Austin agreed to train another pup for the nonprofit organization Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, the Palo Alto resident had no idea that the adorable black Labrador would turn out to be a service dog for her.

I started to have trouble hearing. I was diagnosed with progressive hearing loss and fitted with hearing aids. I also signed up for lip-reading and sign-language classes and joined the Association of Late-Deafened Adults. Read the entire article at SFGate.com.

Tom Oliver and Dolce Certified for Animal Assisted Therapy

Picture of hearing dog Dolce

Tom Oliver, volunteer with the Hearing Dog Program, and his dog Dolce underwent Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) training with Jeanne Bobbitt, Carol Gallagher and Joan Jenson of SHARE-A-PET located in San Francisco. Dolce and Tom were tested on their ability to do therapy work. Tom and Dolce have received obedience training help over the years from HDP trainer Martha Hoffmann which enabled them to pass the Therapy Obedience Professional's exam (TOP) with flying colors. The exam and certificate is offered by SHARE-A-PET . Tom says, "I'm going to meet with them next month to see how HDP and SHARE-A-PET can work together to train our dogs for AAT work."

HDP Fire Prevention Education Dog "Remmy"

Photo of Remmy a  HDP Fire Prevention Education Dog

Remmy is an HDP Fire Prevention Education Dog donated by Guide Dogs For the Blind and owned by Carol Pranka.

Carol does "Defensible Space" training- meaning teaching people to clear the brush around their homes. Also, school fire safety educational programs for kids with "Stop, Drop and Roll " demonstrated by Remmy.

We need a Barbie doll house donated, so we can mount it on a base, and have fake brush "trees" around it for Remmy to retrieve/remove, to demonstrate clearing defensible space around a home.

Remmy will also be doing a Hearing Dog demo at the SF Zoo event this Saturday. She's got a lot of talents.

Lukes' Good Deed

Photo of Kris and her hearing dog Luke

Kris Eslick teaches Deaf children. Her wonderful male Labrador Luke, donated by Guide Dogs for The Blind, is in training by Kris with the assistance of the Hearing Dog Program (HDP) to be her new Hearing Dog. Since Kris has extensive training experience in agility, AKC obedience, and in addition, maintaining the training of her previous Hearing Dog, she is ideally suited for our new kind of placement. In this new program, the partner trains their dog with help from the HDP until the dog meets our graduation requirements. Luke is learning incredibly fast. Kris has motivated him to even go beyond his training level to do real life alerts more and more often. Thanks to her hard work and enthusiasm (and Luke's too), this team is right on track for our June graduation.

"I've got to brag," says Kris. "I'm at my 1st period Kindergarten class this morning, and as I turn to leave, I see one of my student's classmates, Jenny, crying inconsolably. Jenny's pet, a turtle she planned to bring to show and tell, died this morning."

"I ask Jenny's teacher, 'Would your grieving studtent like to lead Luke to the front of the class, for show and tell, and introduce him as Luke, a dog learning to be a Hearing Dog?'

"I practiced a command all week with Luke: 'Luke, go get Kris!' After instructing Jenny to use this command and then point to me, she did as instructed smiling broadly. Luke then came over, nudged me and trotted over to the girl for his waiting treat! All the kids clapped and, as we left, yelled 'Good bye, Luke!'"

Yeah, Luke! May you always bring smiles, where there were tears!

Jack Byers, His Hearing Dog, Clover Belle, and a Mountain Lion

The following story is told by Jack Byers about how he and his family were saved by his Hearing Dog, Clover Belle, from a stalking mountain lion:

Recently a young girl stopped me in the store and asked me about my Hearing Dog. My answer was the usual litany, "She tells me when the phone rings, someone's at the door, my wife calls my name, etc.." Then when I got home, I got to thinking about it again. There's so much more to having my Clover Belle than that.

I think the biggest help to me is that I live without so much fear. ...

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