Eyes and ears

In a unique collaboration, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and Guide Dogs for the Blind have trained the world's first-ever dual-purpose dog. Roddy, a Labrador cross-golden retriever, has been trained over the past year as both a hearing and guide dog for Angela Hassall from Crewe. Guide dogs have to be calm and not react to noise, while hearing dogs are naturally inquisitive with an interest in sounds, so training was not easy. Roddy first qualified as a guide dog, then underwent hearing-dog training to alert him to household sounds such as the doorbell and telephone. Both charities are so happy at the result that there are plans for more dual-purpose dogs. "Staff at Hearing Dogs are delighted that the close collaboration has resulted in such a wonderful bond between dog and owner," said Hearing Dogs' operations director Claire Guest.

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