Edinburgh volunteers needed to train puppies for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People charity

A charity is urgently seeking volunteers in Edinburgh to raise and train puppies for deaf people.

Hearing Dogs for Deaf People needs animal lovers in the Capital to look after hearing dogs in training, so they can help more people with hearing loss.

The charity, which trains Cocker Spaniels, Labradors, Cockapoos and Miniature Poodles, has recently seen demand for its services increase by 30%.

They are looking for Edinburgh locals who would be willing to take on the role of a Volunteer Puppy Trainer. The job entails slowly introducing a puppy to new experiences and environments like supermarkets, restaurants, shops, and public transport, so the dog has the confidence to accompany a deaf person everywhere they go as an accredited assistance dog.

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Volunteer puppy trainers also attend weekly classes and learn all the necessary skills to ensure their puppy becomes a well-behaved dog before the next stage of their training.

After completing their training, the clever canines go on to help deaf people, alerting their owners to important and life-saving sounds such as the doorbell, alarm clock, smoke alarm and even baby monitors. They also provide constant emotional support and companionship.

The whole process is funded and supported by Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, with the charity covering all expenses related to the puppy’s training including food, insurance and veterinary costs. Each volunteer is assigned a local instructor who will provide full guidance along the way.

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Freckles the cockapoo, who is currently training to become a life-changing hearing dog.

The role would be perfect for dog lovers in Edinburgh living in a home with a secure garden, and plenty of time to spare every day. Volunteers will need access to a computer and video calling facilities for online dog training classes. Unfortunately, the charity cannot consider applications from those who work full time, even if they work from home.

Victoria Leedham, Head of Volunteering at Hearing Dogs for Deaf People says: “It is a fantastic opportunity to experience the joys of having a dog, without all the associated financial commitments, while making a real difference to deaf people’s lives. You’ll meet like-minded people, make new friends and receive lots of support from us every step of the way.

“If you think you can offer one of our adorable puppies a loving home, we’d love to hear from you!”

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Edinburgh-based volunteers, Frank and Judy Holmes, say: “We love volunteering as puppy trainers for Hearing Dogs. Roxy is our second puppy and she is going to be leaving us soon to live with her deaf partner. We will be sad to see her go but we know she is going to make someone so happy. It is the thought of all the ways she is going to transform a person’s life that keep us going. Then there’s the challenge and excitement of starting again with a new puppy!

Hamlet the Labrador is one of Hearing Dogs for Deaf People's newest recruits.

“Since becoming volunteers, we have met lots of wonderful people and puppies and we have made a lot of new friends. It’s a lovely and supportive organisation to be a part of.”

Anyone interested in finding out more or wishing to apply can visit hearingdogs.org.uk/volunteer. The volunteering team can be reached directly at [email protected] or on 01844 348129.