Jed the Labrador made his first appearance as an ambassador for the Hearing Dog charity this week, launching an ice cream at Vanilli’s on Cold Bath Road.
The two-year-old pup launched a fundraising flavour at the ice-cream shop to raise money for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.
Jed went through the vigorous training to become a Hearing Dog last year, but fell at the final hurdle when trainers found he was ‘too barky’ to become a hearing dog.
“It is a real shame, he is such a good natured dog,” said Jen Smith who along with daughter Lily Hastie and Lily’s dad Graham worked with the charity to socialise the pup last year.
“We had to take him out and about everywhere with us to get him used to different environments.
“We took him on trains, on buses, to school, to the shops, to the park, anywhere he would need to be able to go as a hearing dog.
“After a day socialising Jed in town we would bring him here and treat ourselves to an ice cream.”
Vanilli’s owner Alex Leishman said: “We got to know Jed when they were popping in and were always keen to hear about how he progressing.”
His wife Edith added: “I had heard about hearing dogs before; but I hadn’t met anyone training a dog until I met Jen and Lily. I didn’t realise how much went into it.”
The family from Dunkeswick near Harewood decided to help train a hearing dog after reading about it in the Harrogate Advertiser.
They looked after Jed at home for one year, carrying out basic obedience training and taking them to classes.
The dogs are trained to alert their deaf recipients of household sounds and danger signals such as the alarm clock, doorbell, telephone and smoke alarm and provide confidence, independence and companionship to deaf people.
Training a hearing dog from a puppy takes around one year and the training, placement and life-long care of a hearing dog can cost up to £45,000.
Jen added: “We really wanted to give something back to the hearing dogs charity after all the work that went into training Jed.”
From tomorrow (Friday, May 23) Vanilli’s will donate 50p from every scoop of Mars bar chocolate flavoured ice cream they sell to the Hearing Dogs charity.
A guess the name of the toy dog competition will also be run to raise funds.
For more information on how to become a puppy socialiser visit www.hearingdogs.org.uk