A deaf Myerscough College University Centre equine student is thriving thanks to the help of her hearing dog.
20-year-old Trinity Rogers started her BSc (Hons) in Equine Science degree programme last month, joined by Show Cocker Spaniel, Alvin. Alvin was assigned to help Trinity last year, and supports her in both her daily life and her studies at Myerscough.
Trinity takes up her story: ‘’I am profoundly deaf in both ears, and grew up with hearing aids, before having cochlear implants when I was about 13. I have a language processing disorder which basically make it harder to remember instructions and information.
‘’I found out about Hearing Dogs for Deaf People a few years ago and I knew I would need one. I had to wait until I was 16 before I could apply for one and the process went from there. It takes a long time to be matched, but I finally met Alvin last September and agreed to take him as my dog. It was a very hard journey at the start because my family and I had never had a dog before, so we had to build that relationship.
‘’Now, we finally can work together at ease, and although Alvin can decide to be cheeky, I love him to bits. He’s my best friend and my superhero. It has made my life so much easier, as it makes people aware of my deafness, so they do their best to take their time and support me. It has given my parents so much comfort in allowing me to grow independently knowing Alvin is there by my side to protect me.’’
Now Trinity has been welcomed onto her equine degree study programme, she has been able to not only to access the full support of staff and fellow students at Myerscough, but also the additional support of Myerscough’s Inclusive Learning team, as Trinity explains further: ‘’Alvin helps me at Myerscough by making sure I am not late for my lessons by alerting me to morning alarms, letting me know my new friends and staff are trying to get my attention, and alerting me to other things such as fire alarms and doorbells. But most importantly he just makes me laugh because he has a strong character, and gives you the best cuddles!
‘’I decided to study at Myerscough because they were very happy to have Alvin with me and give me any support that I would need. Also, I wanted to specifically study equine science and this course had the most interesting education I was looking for, as well as amazing staff!
‘’As well as having Alvin with me on campus, I also have additional teaching support in the form of a note taker during classes to collect anything I may have forgotten or missed and soon there will be extra help in going through my work with me to make sure I have understood my assignment briefs and my lesson.
‘’I’m loving it at Myerscough so much. I’m gaining so much confidence and I can be myself, whereas in the past I didn’t feel confident to do so. The staff are so supportive and never make me feel stupid, they are happy for me to be asking them millions of questions. The course is perfect, I’m so excited to see what my future brings. The students here are lovely and we all work as a team which is not something I’ve witnessed in the past before I came to Myerscough!’’
Charlotte Brigden is Assistant Head (HE) of Equine at Myerscough College and University Centre, and adds: ‘’Trinity is a fantastic student. She gives 110% to her studies, but more importantly, she is a very active member of the group. She is always the one to be adding comments and arranging help for fellow students within the first year group.’’
Hearing Dogs for Deaf People is an independent UK charity which trains dogs to alert deaf people to a variety of sounds, and provide emotional support through companionship. Their burgundy coats also signal to the public that they are with a deaf person. There are currently around a thousand hearing dog partnerships across the UK.
Find out more about the charity and how you can sponsor a puppy here or search for them on social media.
If you want to support Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, you go on their website to either donate some money or sponsor a puppy. The charity also need volunteers to become a puppy socialiser, helping to bring up the puppy and train it to be then given to the future deaf recipients.
It costs £25,000 to take a puppy from birth through to being partnered with a deaf person. This covers breeding, to carefully sourcing puppies from reputable external breeders when required, as well as all training. It also covers all associated costs such as equipment, food, admin and vet bills, plus the time of dedicated trainers and support staff.
Earlier this year, Trinity undertook a sponsored walk to raise hundreds of pounds for the charity.
Trinity is still undecided exactly what career path to take once she graduates, but she remains very positive for the future: ‘’I definitely want to work with horses medically, maybe as a surgeon or nurse in the equine hospital. I think it will be very challenging but I don’t give up easily, even if someone has told me it’s not possible.
‘’Having a Hearing Dog has made a huge positive impact in my life. I feel confident to do anything independently. I want to thank Myerscough for supporting me and helping me reach to my future as well as allowing me be part of the course. Previously, medical professionals would tell my parents to not have high expectations high for me because of my deafness, and I was bullied through school because of it, but I have proven them wrong. If you have a dream, never let go and fight for it, no matter what others say.’’
by Dave Salmon