- Published on 27 November 2023
Winnie is a three-year-old black Labrador, born on April 12, 2020. She successfully qualified as a Hearing Dog in March 2022, going to live with her partner Ralph in May of that year. Winnie is Hearing Dog Pin-up No. 2 in our flagship publication, Audiology News UK.
Winnie is a three-year-old black Labrador, born on April 12, 2020 into a litter of ten, when she weighed just 368g. She has four sisters and five brothers, and successfully qualified as a Hearing Dog in March 2022, going to live with her partner Ralph in May of that year.
From her volunteer puppy trainer, Louise Turner:
Winnie was a very special dog, who came to stay with us when she was 12 months old. She became very good friends with our next-door neighbours, who would give her a carrot whenever they saw her. She soon realised that if their window was open, they were sure to be in. After that, she would settle herself on a box next to the fence and wait! As soon as she detected any movement, she would look over the fence and wait for her carrot. Our neighbours soon became equally as fond of her as we were.
From her partner Ralph:
“If I were to sum Winnie up, it would be ‘full of love’.” She’s very much your classic Labrador – great at sleeping and playing in equal measure, and when it comes to her soundwork, she loves the opportunity to show me just how clever she is!
She’s always happy to plop down for a nap, which is great in meetings in the office and in restaurants and pubs. I love our walks together too - she loves playing with other dogs in the park, which makes it easier for me to chat with other dog owners.
Her favourite toy is Winnie the Pooh, who she’s had since she was a puppy. She loves playing with him, but is always careful not to tear him to bits!
Winnie’s partner is 28-year-old Ralph, who lives in London.
The cause of Ralph’s deafness is not known, but his family think he has probably been deaf since birth. He was diagnosed at the age of two and has worn hearing aids ever since.
Ralph says he adapted well to home and school life; it was only when he left home and moved to London that he struggled. “I noticed I would miss important sounds, such as the doorbell or, even more importantly, the fire alarm. This was especially worrying when I was alone in my flat.
“I also struggled with alarm clocks – they just didn’t wake me up. I work in the City and have lots of meetings. I needed to be absolutely confident I would not just be there on time, but also be able to use public transport to get there in the first place.”
“Things have been so much easier since having Winnie. She is helpful in raising awareness of my hearing loss, because of her burgundy jacket.
“She makes meetings easier. She also lets me know when the weekly fire alarm goes off, which is very reassuring. She comes with me to work on the District Line and she’s very popular with all the commuters.
“On walks, she’s always keen to get up to mischief. She wanders off, then comes right back when called, proud to show me what she has discovered.”
Before being matched with Ralph, Winnie was a Hearing Dogs sponsor pup. The huge difference she has made to Ralph’s life has only been possible thanks to the kind people who decided to sponsor her training.
If you are wondering about our Hearing Dog Pin-up No. 1, click here to meet Rudy.
Source: Audiology News UK Issue 05 November-December 2023