Newburgh SWRI’s June meeting commenced with the President, Mrs Robertson welcoming members and guests, the Rural Song was sung, business conducted, then she lost no time in welcoming speaker Mr Ian Finnie and his Hearing Dog for the Deaf, Cinderella (Cinders).
Mr Finnie began explaining about hearing loss and impairment, talking through his own particular issues and history. Each person with a hearing impairment will be different, and those deaf from birth will experience different difficulties from those who go deaf during their lifetime. Each will also have different ways of coping with the challenges presented, as a result.
He then spoke of the work of the Hearing Dogs for the Deaf, explaining why some breeds of dogs are better than others for this work, and the training plan they have to undertake, starting with socialisation where they get used to general sights and sounds, through being ‘matched’, then the training for the specific sounds needed for their owner. Dogs usually work until they are 11 years old. It takes around £45,000 to train, maintain and support each dog. Most people working for the charity are volunteers.
Mr Finnie also talked briefly about other types of assistance dogs, if someone has both a visual and hearing impairment, the dog may need to be trained by two charities. He then demonstrated some of the training techniques with Cinders who performed admirably for biscuits.
It was another excellent evening, hearing from a speaker with a passion for his subject.
After a short question time, the group sat down to a lovely tea, before competition winners were announced:
Prettiest brooch: Mrs Moroney, Mrs Donohue, Mrs Singer; Rock buns: Mrs Edwards, Mrs Donuhue, Mrs McConnachie.
Due to the summer holidays, the next meeting will be held on September 2 at 7.30pm in the Newburgh Public Hall, All are welcome to attend. Details can be obtained from the Secretary, Mrs Singer on 01358 789634.