A hearing dog from Wellingborough has been hailed a hero after helping a stranger who had collapsed.
Golden retriever Joe has been specially trained by Hearing Dogs for Deaf People to assist Matt Lunney, from Wellingborough, who is profoundly deaf.
As if this isn’t enough, Joe has now been named a hero twice, and was presented with a Heroic Award in 2015 after rescuing Matt from a life-threatening situation.
Matt was on a family holiday in Weston Super Mare when his hearing dog Joe woke him up in the early morning wanting a walk.
He said: “I got up that morning and drove Joe and myself down to the forest, which was just down the road.
“It was still totally pitch black. Joe ran off, and started barking.
“He came running back to me, so I asked ‘what is it Joe?’. He ran ahead of me, wanting me to follow him.
“When Joe stopped, I saw that a lady had fallen down the steps, and wasn’t moving.
“There was no signal on my phone so Joe instinctively stayed with her while I ran back to my car and pressed the SOS button.
“20 minutes later the paramedics arrived. The lady was badly hurt, in tears, and emotional.
“She kept asking me ‘how did you get help?’. As she got into the ambulance, the paramedics were telling her about Joe, that he was a hearing dog and I was profoundly deaf.
“She realised if it hadn’t been for Joe, she would not have been found.”
Matt and Joe are becoming quite the famous partnership, after Joe received the Specsavers Heroic Partnership of the Year Award last year at the Hearing Dogs Awards.
The pair were presented with the accolade after Joe managed to scare off a thief trying to break into Matt’s car whilst they were both inside, just last year.
Speaking about his hearing dog, Matt said: “I am proud that my super hearing dog Joe simply takes it in his stride, and copes awesomely in any situation.
“He uses his furry gut feeling to alert me to danger!
“Every day I am always learning something new about Joe.
“I wonder what other adventures he will seek, and what else he will alert me to.
“He is a special dog, one in a million and I wouldn’t dream of leaving him or swapping him.
“He is my loyal dedicated ears and amazing hearing dog hero.”
Hearing Dogs for Deaf People is the only UK charity that trains clever dogs to alert deaf people to important sounds they would otherwise miss, such as the doorbell, telephone, baby monitor and danger signals such as the smoke alarm.
Hearing dogs not only provide essential practical assistance to deaf people, but they also help to alleviate the isolation and anxiety often caused by deafness as well as providing companionship and independence.
To sponsor a puppy through his training, to become a life-saver like Joe, visit donate.hearingdogs.org.uk.