Hearing Dogs give deaf owners paws for thought with help from NPDC community fund

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When has a poodle or a King Charles spaniel ever saved someone’s life?

When it’s been trained to help a deaf person live independently in their own home, according to Hearing Dogs New Zealand.

The New Plymouth-based charity has trained about 160 dogs for deaf people around the country since 1998 and each one of them has been trained to hound its owner when a smoke alarm goes off.

NPDC’s Community Services and Programmes Fund is giving the organisation $4,000 a year for the next three years to help keep the little lifesavers fed and healthy while they’re in training.

“They can change people’s lives in so many ways.  They give deaf people confidence.  They make the disability visible with the yellow Hearing Dog jacket and people come and talk to you when you have a dog.  They also provide companionship and enrich people’s lives,” said Hearing Dogs NZ General Manager Clare McLaughlin.


Applications are now open for the latest round of the fund, which supports grassroots and volunteer groups in projects and programmes that benefit the community.

“We all need help when times are tough, and grassroots and volunteer groups often step up to provide it. Our Community Services and Programmes Grant are there to assist these groups when they need a hand,” said Community Partnerships Lead Callum Williamson. 


Applications to the fund are open until 24 June.

Go to the funding and grants section of the council’s website npdc.govt.nz for more details or call the Community Partnerships Team on 06-759 6060.


Caption: Hearing Dogs NZ General Manager Clare McLaughlin with some new trainees at the charity’s New Plymouth home.