Alvin joined 20-year-old Trinity Rogers at Myerscough College last month. The cocker spaniel supports her in daily life and at college.
“I am profoundly deaf in both ears, and grew up with hearing aids, before having cochlear implants when I was about 13,” Trinity said. “I have a language processing disorder which basically make it harder to remember instructions and information.
“I found out about Hearing Dogs for Deaf People a few years ago and I knew I would need one. I had to wait until I was 16 before I could apply, and the process went from there. It takes a long time to be matched, but I finally met Alvin last September and agreed to take him as my dog. It was a very hard journey at the start because my family and I had never had a dog before, so we had to build that relationship.
“Now, we can finally work together at ease, and although Alvin can decide to be cheeky, I love him to bits. He’s my best friend and my superhero. It has made my life so much easier, as it makes people aware of my deafness, so they do their best to take their time and support me. It has given my parents so much comfort in allowing me to grow independently knowing Alvin is there by my side to protect me.’’
Trinity is also supported by Myerscough’s inclusive learning team, and has extra support such as a note-taker in classes.
She added: “Alvin helps me at Myerscough by making sure I am not late for my lessons by alerting me to morning alarms, letting me know my new friends and staff are trying to get my attention, and alerting me to other things such as fire alarms and doorbells. But most importantly he just makes me laugh because he has a strong character, and gives you the best cuddles.
“I decided to study at Myerscough because they were very happy to have Alvin with me and give me any support I’d need. Also, I wanted to specifically study equine science and this course had the most interesting education I was looking for, as well as amazing staff.
“I’m loving it at Myerscough so much. I’m gaining so much confidence and I can be myself, whereas in the past I didn’t feel confident to do so.”
Trinity wants to work within equine veterinary medicine in future.
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“I think it will be very challenging but I don’t give up easily, even if someone has told me it’s not possible,” she said.
“Previously, medical professionals would tell my parents to not have high expectations for me because of my deafness, and I was bullied through school because of it, but I have proven them wrong. If you have a dream, never let go and fight for it, no matter what others say.’’
Hearing Dogs for Deaf People is a charity that trains dogs to alert deaf people to a variety of sounds, and provide emotional support. Their burgundy coats also signal to the public that they are with a deaf person. It costs £25,000 to take a puppy from birth to being partnered with a deaf person.
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