Bella - New Ears for Me
by Southwind Kane
(Hemphill TX USA)
Bella is a long haired dachshund that came to us as a foster and then we adopted her. I will always be grateful that she found her way to me. Bella came from a puppy mill when she was 2 years old and it is unusual that a rescue dog becomes a service dog from everything that I have been told and read.
From the day she graced my home, she has always been very responsive to any sound - the phone, microwave, oven alarm, dryer alert, knock on door and the alarm clock. The other 8 dachshunds that live in the house could care less about the noises. Bella however has always felt the need to "take me" to the sound. It was a game with us and she was praised for doing so, never thinking it would become her job in the future.
In the last year, due to illness and high fever - I lost the hearing in my right ear and the left one has only partial hearing and is deteriorating slowly. Tests have determined that surgery will not help nor will hearing aids.
With Bella's calm manner, attentiveness to sounds and easy nature, she was able to be trained to be my hearing assist dog. Since she was part of the family, it has been easier for me to cope with the loss of my hearing.
She takes her "duties" very seriously and is upset with me on the days when my husband goes with me and she does not. Once her vest is on her, she is all business and she becomes very "professional."
I have only had one problem while Bella was with me and it was in my own home town where everyone knows me. One of the local business owners was "uneducated" about Service Dogs and tried to deny Bella and I from being in her establishment. After showing her a copy of the ADA "Brief to Businesses" and talking to her, she became educated very fast. Other places in town such as grocery stores, dollar stores, ALCO, restaurants and other facilities have not been a problem. Even in big cities like Las Vegas, NV, and Shreveport, LA, store owners have been wonderful and knowledgeable about Service Dogs.
I do find that people tend to ask lots of questions about Bella and Service Dogs in general.
Without Bella and her ability to help me, I would be in a deep depression.
Hello Southwind - How wonderful that the dog you rescued is now invaluable to you in your new challenge with becoming hearing impaired. Thank you very much for taking the time to write, thus providing more education for others as to what a service dog can do, the "Brief to Businesses" from the ADA, as well as highlighting how special Bella is.
P.S. I have sent you an email per your request about disseminating information to the public about service dogs.