well, it's a new year, and that means a new fundraising & athletic challenge! this time around, i'll be doing The KiltWalk, which is a marathon-length walk from Glasgow to Loch Lomond (in kilts, of course). The KiltWalk runs several events a year throughout scotland, to raise money for various childrens' charities. and, if you walk as a large enough team, half of what you fundraise can be separated off and donated to the charity of your choice – so our team will be walking to fundraise for Hearing Dogs UK.
Hearing Dogs UK work to train dogs as service dogs & companions for deaf children and adults at no charge, and receive no government funding. the dogs not only provide friendship and a valuable social link for potentially isolated people, but also work hard to alert their owners to important or dangerous sounds. our official KiltWalk team name is Bran's Flakes, and we're walking in memory of a very special lady.
Bran was team member Lisa's first Hearing Dog after Lisa's parents died – she was rescued from Dogs Trust and trained to act as Lisa's 'ears' (as well as a wonderful furry friend). Bran helped Lisa by making her aware of important sounds, such as the doorbell (Bran would tap Lisa's leg with her paw & then lead her to the door); and alarm clock (Bran would jump on the bed when the alarm clock went off & tap Lisa with her paw until she woke up!). She would also let Lisa know if there was an emergency noise, such as a fire alarm, by tapping Lisa with her paw then lying down flat (this is the signal for something dangerous).
Bran was also a great ice breaker in social situations, and helped Lisa meet a lot of people at parks, coffee shops and shopping centres by wagging her tail and trying to introduce them. She accompanied Lisa to a huge number of work & social events, and even met people as varied as Princess Anne and Peter Andre!! Bran had a minor stroke one day before her retirement in May 2012 but recovered really well and enjoyed her retirement until her death on 27th September 2014 at the grand age of 15 and a half years old. i was lucky enough to meet the lovely Bran during the end of her retirement, and was amazed at how clever and patient she was, and how focused she was on everything Lisa did. even though she was no longer an “official” working dog, it was clear that she had decided this was her one & only purpose, and the attention she paid to Lisa and her surroundings was incredible.
Lisa says, “She was just an amazing dog and was my best friend. We had a good & strong bond and a great working relationship. God bless her wee soul!”.
through our KiltWalk fundraising, we hope to help Hearing Dogs UK place other wonderful dogs like Bran with owners who will love them as much as Lisa loved Bran. our team goal is £2000, but i think we can easily surpass that!! if you're able to donate, even a small amount will help us towards our goal – and if you need any further incentive than lovely dogs, i'll be offering up some “karmic balancing gifts” (details to follow!) as rewards for randomly chosen donors!! if you'd like to donate, this is our fundraising page – and if you'd like to be in the running for a random gift, please come back to this post after you donate and leave a comment for me!!