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Award for dog

PUBLISHED: 15:13 18 June 2008 | UPDATED: 14:35 07 July 2010

A pint-sized dog that has changed the life of her deaf owner has been given a special treat for her hard work.

Two-year-old Yorkshire terrier cross Odell, who lives with her owner Anne Holmes in Dereham, was taken to a celebration summer fair in Buckinghamshire, where she was presented with an award by TV presenter and charity champion Esther Rantzen.

A pint-sized dog that has changed the life of her deaf owner has been given a special treat for her hard work.

Two-year-old Yorkshire terrier cross Odell, who lives with her owner Anne Holmes in Dereham, was taken to a celebration summer fair in Buckinghamshire, where she was presented with an award by TV presenter and charity champion Esther Rantzen.

Odell was trained by the charity, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, which ran the awards event.

The dog was runner-up in the Life-Changing Hearing Dog of the Year category.

Anne, 63, was born profoundly deaf, but her life has been transformed since she got Odell about a year ago. She recalled: “I did not want to mix or converse with people because I could not hear what was being said and was afraid of saying the wrong thing as a result.

“I was afraid of being in the bungalow if my husband Frank was out, and I was worried if he was not well and called me as I would not hear him.”

Odell, a cross between a Yorkshire terrier and a toy poodle, has changed Anne's life. Now, she says, she doesn't get depressed and is happy to go out.

“We go into town more often and I am finding that people are talking to me more often and I am no longer afraid to converse,” she said.

“And people realise, because of Odell's hearing dog coat, that I am deaf and they make sure I have heard and understood what is being said.”

The annual award is given in recognition of the huge difference that hearing dogs make to their owners.

Most dogs selected by the charity for training come from rescue centres or are donated by people, although

Odell was bred especially.

More information at www.hearingdogs.org.uk or call 01844 348 100 (voice/minicom).

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