A deaf man from Northampton has credited his dog for protecting him from a robber who tried to break into his car.
Matthew Lunney, aged 37, was waiting in his car for a friend when a man dressed in dark clothing suddenly jumped out from the bushes and tried to enter his vehicle.
Mr Lunney, who is profoundly deaf, has a hearing dog called Joe, a Golden Retriever, who began barking furiously at the intruder to scare him away.
Mr Lunney said: “It dawned on me that if Joe hadn’t been there, that man would have got into the car. Anything could have happened. I never expected this from my hearing dog - I was so proud of him.
“Since then, my life has changed completely because if I am home alone, I am so confident I deliberately leave my hearing aids out. I know that Joe will always be listening for me and will alert me to any sounds he is trained to – plus he will think on his feet and alert me to any other sound. He is my loyal ears and protector.”
Following the incident in September 2014, Mr Lunney and Joe have now been short-listed for the Specsavers Heroic Partnership of the Year award, which recognises heroic acts of courage and bravery.
They will attend an awards ceremony in London on Wednesday, November 4, which will be hosted by one of the Charity’s celebrity ambassadors, Dame Esther Rantzen.
Hearing Dogs for Deaf People is a national charity that trains clever dogs to alert their deaf owners to important sounds such as the doorbell, alarm clock, telephone and fire alarm.
For more information on the Hearing Dogs Awards, please visit www.hearingdogs.org.uk/awards.