Karen Flannery with hearing assistance dog Maxie. Photo: Stuart Fast
Karen Flannery with hearing assistance dog Maxie. Photo: Stuart Fast

How this hearing helper is more than an extra set of ears

A TWO-YEAR wait for a hearing dog has ended in happiness after a Hervey Bay woman was introduced to her new best friend.

Karen Flannery welcomed Maxie into her life thanks to the Hervey Bay Lions Club.

The local members sponsored the talented pooch which came from the Australian Lions Hearing Dogs training centre in South Australia.

Ms Flannery suffers from hearing loss and while hearing aids do help, she struggles to hear phones ringing, door bells and smoke detector alarms.

Maxie assists her by hearing these sounds, finding Ms Flannery and leading her to the sound's source.

"I can't believe how quickly he's adjusted after being with a trainer for eight months," she said.

"It makes me feel safer and secure in my house … it means a lot."

Maxie is the 619th assistance dog delivered since the Lions Club of Australia program started in 1982.

Lions Club dog trainer Marcello Romeo said hearing assistance dogs were rescue dogs or came from ethical breeders.

He said various breeds could be trained to be assistance dogs, such as tenterfield terriers, cocker spaniels or labradoodles.

Mr Romeo said the dogs were trained using food rewards to recognise certain sounds and fetch their owners.

He said training also focused on making the dog confident and getting them used to busy areas like shopping centres.

Ms Flannery said she was looking forward to showing the people of Hervey Bay to good a hearing assistance dog could do.