The Mercury, Tasmania, Sept 23, 2011; Charles Waterhouse
Sally Jokobovski shops at Eastlands with her hearing dog Rexie, one of only three trained hearing dogs in Tasmania. Picture: LEIGH WINBURN
THREE formerly homeless Tasmanian dogs have been chosen for training as hearing assistance dogs.
The Dogs’ Home of Tasmania charges are now in training at Lions Hearing Dogs Inc in the Adelaide Hills.
Donut, a 15-month-old male beagle, will be delivered to a Victorian client in November, Pee Wee, a 12-month-old male terrier cross, will probably go to Western Australia and Kimmy, a 12-month-old female spaniel cross, may go a New South Wales client.
Lions Hearing Dogs head trainer Luiza Ziembicki said: “Because the dogs work in the home environment we don’t want anything too big, unless clients ask for a lab[rador]-sized dog.”
The South Australian organisation is the only certified training centre in Australia for dogs exclusively for people who are deaf or hearing-impaired.
Each dog costs about $30,000 to train and does six to eight months’ training, followed by three months’ training with their new owner.
Hearing dogs identifiable by their orange collars, leads and jackets are trained to alert their owners to sounds like phones, smoke alarms and door bells. Like guide dogs, they have full access rights to shops, public transport and buildings.
At the moment Tasmania only has three such dogs.
Dogs’ Homes of Tasmania acting general manager Cathy Craw said the selection of dogs’ home dogs for the job showed rescued dogs were capable of great things.