Puppy love at retirement village as residents name future hearing dog

A Labradoodle puppy that will become a Hearing Assistance Dog has been named ‘Laurel’ by residents at The Laurels Retirement Village, which is already home to a clever pooch that belongs to a resident with hearing loss.

The Adelaide Hills retirees had been vying for the honour to name the pup as the village’s operator, RetireAustralia, has exclusive naming rights because it is contributing towards the cost of training the puppy.

The winning puppy name was revealed at a special morning tea on April 5, an event which celebrated the ‘pawsome’ and enduring association between RetireAustralia and Australian Lions Hearing Dogs.

The Laurels has been home to Hearing Assistance Dogs in recent years, including a highly intelligent canine named ‘Spud’ that provides a set of furry ears for resident Bronwyn Paddick.

Now RetireAustralia is giving back to a charity that has benefited residents by helping with the cost of training a puppy, which will have a few visits to the village before being placed with its new owner.

Hearing Assistance Dogs play a vital role in the lives of their owners – they increase the quality of everyday living and help alleviate conditions often associated with hearing loss including depression, anxiety and communication withdrawal.

Residents at The Laurels are familiar with the work of Australian Lions Hearing Dogs, with Hearing Assistance Dog ‘Spud,’ moving into the village in September 2020. Since then, he has been alerting deaf owner Bronwyn to potentially life-threatening risks around her home.

RetireAustralia’s Industry and Community Liaison Anna Zinenko said the organisation’s contribution towards the training costs of the puppy was a fantastic opportunity for the village to strengthen its connection with the charity.

“It’s a way for residents to support Australian Lions Hearing Dogs,” she said.

“They get to name the puppy and the sponsorship money goes towards training the puppy.”

Australian Lions Hearing Dogs CEO David Horne said the contribution was valuable, given the charity is 100 per cent funded by donations and sponsorship, and training a Hearing Assistance Dog can cost upwards of $37,000.

“We are incredibly grateful for the support from RetireAustralia,” he said.

“They know the benefits that a Hearing Assistance Dog has on a person who is deaf or hard of hearing, seeing first-hand the impact on The Laurels resident Bronwyn with Hearing Dog Spud.”

Australian Lions Hearing Dogs Development Director Alix Katala said it was incredibly special for the charity, located at Verdun, to engage retirees who were part of the same community.

“To give The Laurels residents an opportunity to meet and name an adorable future Hearing Dog puppy is so rewarding, we look forward to sharing the puppy’s training journey with them,” she said.



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