Entry Category: Hearing Dogs
Charity Partner: Dogs for the Deaf
Location: Plantation , Florida
Nothing seemed out of the ordinary when I went to sleep on a sweltering South Florida night. But at about 2 a.m. I woke up, struggling to catch my breath. Moments later, I wasn't breathing at all. My hearing dog, Tatiana, sprang into action, alerting my family that something was terribly wrong. My mother found me unresponsive after what was a severe asthma attack and she called paramedics. I have a history of struggling with asthma which is exacerbated by frequent ear infections as a result of Meniere's disease. That night when the paramedics arrived they said that Tatiana had saved my life. Tatiana is truly a Hero Dog.
I was matched with Tatiana in 2011 and the wait to get her was well worth it. She has helped me get back my independence that I lost somewhere along the way after I suffered hearing loss as a teenager. She is a reminder that everything is going to be ok and she brings me so much joy. I graduated in December from Purdue University with a master's degree in biomedical engineering. Tatiana walked across the stage with me for graduation and wore her cap at commencement. Tatiana's diploma reads "Master of Friendship and Guidance."
Dogs for the Deaf is the charity chosen to support for Tatiana. Dogs for the Deaf is a nonprofit, 501 (c) 3 organization that rescues homeless dogs from shelters, provides needed medical care and spaying/neutering for the dogs, and trains dogs to help people with a variety of disabilities and challenges including hearing loss, autism, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, panic/anxiety attacks, depression, stroke, and chronic arthritis. Dogs for the Deaf also trains dogs to assist professionals (teachers, physicians, counselors, legal advocates, caregivers) who work with patients and clients who have various disabilities and challenges.
Dogs for the Deaf is funded by donations from individuals, service clubs, groups, bequests, estates, and businesses. It receives no government funding.