Hearing Assistance Dog Hops is small of stature, but he has made a big difference to the life of Hoppers Crossing woman Kathryn Prescott.
Around six years ago, Hops came into the life of Ms Prescott, who is profoundly deaf.
The two were paired up thanks to Australian Lions Hearing Dogs, a not-for-profit organisation that procures and trains Hearing Assistance Dogs for deaf and hard-of-hearing people.
Lions Club of Lara member Maria Baade, who serves as the volunteer Australian Lions Hearing Dogs coordinator for a district which includes Wyndham, said there was a lot of demand for the dogs.
There is a two-year waiting list for people hoping to receive a dog, and training just one Hearing Assistance Dog costs $37,000.
Ms Baade said that while the organisation breeds dogs, they also rescue many from shelters and train them to become Hearing Assistance Dogs.
Ms Prescott said Hops, an eight-year-old Shitzu and wire-haired terrier cross, originally came from an animal welfare sanctuary in Adelaide.
Ms Prescott said it took around four months of training for Hops to become a certified Hearing Assistance Dog.
Ms Prescott said that Hops helped her out by notifying her when there was a visitor at the door, and when the oven timer or smoke alarm went off.
“If there is smoke, he will come and touch me and drop at my feet,” she said.
Also, whenever they leave the house, Hops wears a jacket emblazoned with “Do not pat”, so people know that he is a working dog.
Ms Prescott said that in addition to making her life “much easier”, Hops was “a good companion”.
See https://hearingdogs.asn.au for details or to donate to Australian Lions Hearing Dogs.