Who We Are

HEAR! HERE! is your local chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America [HLAA] serving Woodland, Davis and Yolo County. We offer informational programs throughout the year that are open to all. See this blog for times and dates of upcoming events.


Our e-mail address is: hearherewoodland@gmail.com

Sunday, November 22, 2009

HOT DOG of a Meeting

WOW, What a meeting we had last Monday.

To begin with we watched a DVD from the Sam Simon Program, headquartered in Malibu, on the training
and use of dogs for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The program uses
carefully selected dogs rescued from the pound. These dogs have to be:

Confident: Outgoing: a Assertive: Friendly: and Healthy!

We also learnt that Hearing Dogs provide their owners an amazing variety of services including:
Alerting the owner to smoke alarms, door bells and phones that are ringing; Informing the owner that food has finished cooking both on the stove and in the microwave; Bringing back items the owner may have dropped; and Ensuring that the owner knows if someone is calling them or talking to them from behind.

  One very poignant moment in the DVD was when a ten year old boy talked about how he feels much safer when he is walking down the street as his dog will alert him if there is someone behind him. I think that hearing people so not realize how isolating being totally deaf can be and how that must be, especially for children. The boy's mother says that having a Hearing Dog has helped her son become more socially active with the other children in the neighborhood and by extension more of a typical teenager.
After the DVD we were treated to seeing two Canine Companions for Independence [CCI] dogs, Cali and Caspir and their owners, Don and Walis, do their thing!

Cali is a Hearing Dog and demonstrated all the techniques she has for keeping Don her owner alerted to what is happening around him. She responded to a timer going off, she noticed when Don dropped his keys and picked them up for him, she went and got his attention when Walis called to him from across the room.

Walis, the owner  of Caspir, gave the group an understanding of the rigorous training that CCI dogs have to undergo in order to qualify to be a certified  Hearing Dog. Only 20% of dogs make it all the way through the training. Training is spread out over the first 2 1/2 years of the life of the dog with the last 6 months or so being on training specifically for work as a Hearing Dog.

Owners are also required to go to two weeks intensive training during which they are matched with a dog.
There is final test where the owner and dog go out to a busy public venue such as a mall to test the dogs ability to perform complex tasks in a noisy crowded area.  

One thing that Walis told us that is pretty amazing is that she is teaching her dog Caspir to respond to American Sign Language...which she demonstrated for us.

It was quite impressive to see both these dogs working in public and being so very responsive to their owners. Both dogs ignored everyone else in the room until at the end of the class they were given permission to "release" and then they were just the friendliest dogs you could image.

YES, it really was a great demonstration and we have to thank Don, Walis , Cali and Caspir for giving up their time and sharing the wonder of these dogs with us. They made you want to run out and get a dog right away!


  1. This sounds like it was a very good meeting and I am sorry that I missed it.

  2. I am sorry that I missed this meeting too.

  3. Interesting and easy to read blog


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