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National charity, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, have launched a brand new puppy training project in Scotland – and the first puppy has just arrived in Edinburgh!

Aster, an adorable 12 week old black Cocker Spaniel puppy, is the first pup to be trained as a hearing dog in Scotland.

Vicky Hope, aged 43 of Newhaven in Edinburgh, is a mum of two and is delighted to be the first volunteer to train a puppy in Scotland. After years of pester power from her children, she is now caring for Aster at home and the family are learning all about dog training. Vicky said:

‘My kids have wanted a puppy for a long time, so I decided we’d volunteer to train a hearing dog puppy who will grow up to do some good, as well as teach my children how to be responsible. Aster is amazing – she’s so full of life and we’ve all fallen head over heels in love with her!’

There are more than 80 deaf people with hearing dogs living in Scotland, and the Charity is now appealing for volunteers in Edinburgh and surrounding areas to help train a further nine young puppies.

Alex McQuiggan, Partnership Instructor for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People in Scotland, said:

‘We are delighted that the first puppy has now settled in to her new home in Edinburgh, and we are now looking for puppy training volunteers in Scotland. Volunteers are provided with all food and equipment needed, and receive full support and guidance from our training team, as well as regular home visits and weekly puppy training classes.

Once the puppy’s training is complete, they will be partnered with someone who is severely or profoundly deaf and give that person greater confidence and independence. Hearing dogs are life-changing and volunteering with us is extremely rewarding.’

Each volunteer family will be required to care for and train the puppy with the help of a Hearing Dogs trainer for a sixteen month period, and the charity are also looking for volunteers who can provide short term puppy care.

1 in 6 people in the UK suffer from hearing loss. Hearing dogs transform the lives of deaf people by alerting them to important sounds they cannot hear, such as the alarm clock, doorbell and smoke alarm.

For more information visit www.hearingdogs.org.uk/scotlandpuppy  or email volunteer@hearingdogs.org.uk