Tex didn’t have the easiest start to life. The scruffy terrier was twice returned to our Lonsdale shelter through no fault of his own.
But that all changed in February 2019, when Tex found the best forever home – he was adopted by Australian Lions Hearing Dogs.
Now over six months into his training, Tex is almost a qualified hearing dog, and he’s about to embark on a grand adventure helping humans in need.
With one in six Australians suffering from some form of hearing loss, the work of rescue dogs like Tex couldn’t be more needed right now.
Hundreds of rescue dogs trained by Adelaide Hills charity
Since starting almost 40 years ago at Verdun in the Adelaide Hills, Australian Lions Hearing Dogs have provided almost 600 dogs to people who suffer from hearing loss.
The charity, supported by Lions Clubs, is the only accredited hearing dog training centre in Australia, providing deaf or hard of hearing clients a fully trained hearing dog – free of charge.
That’s especially incredible, because each trained dog costs the organisation roughly $35,000.
What’s more, Australian Lions Hearing Dogs is proud to find most of their dogs at pounds and animal shelters – 64 of these pooches have been adopted from our very own RSPCA South Australia shelters.
Friendly, inquisitive and energetic: the perfect hearing dog
Australian Lions Hearing Dog trainer Laura Harris tells us Tex was an obvious choice right from the first moment she met him.
“Usually we select dogs that are up the front of the kennels wanting to meet us – friendly, inquisitive and energetic,” Laura says.
“When we came to Lonsdale in February, we walked past Tex and instantly knew he would be the perfect hearing dog.
“He was happy and excited to meet us, very responsive to sounds and showed the behaviour of a well-balanced dog.”
In the months since his adoption, Tex has been busy making lots of new fur-friends and befriending all members of staff.
“Tex has become a confident dog during our outings and has been to lots of different places including the airport, Marion and the CBD,” Laura says.
Sound training crucial to a hearing dog’s progression
Tex’s training involves two aspects – sound training and out-and-about training.
Over the past four months of his training, Tex has learned to recognise nine different household sounds – meaning he’ll be able to alert his future owner to each noise.
Clever Tex can now identify sounds including the door bell, knocking on the door, phones ringing, the alarm clock going off, an oven timer sounding, a baby crying, go-get and a smoke alarm.
“Tex gets so excited when it is time for sound training and is always looking to me to find out what I would like him to do next,” Laura says.
He’s also learned to cope in loads of different situations.
“The dogs are exposed to many different environments and settings during out-and-about training such as busy malls and shopping centres, residential walks, public transport, main street walks with high levels of traffic noise and café training – and they need to be able to cope in this environment,” trainer Megan mentions.
A fur-ever home the next big step as Tex completes his training
With Tex almost ready to find his new family, Megan says it’ll be tough to say goodbye after spending several months seeing him almost every day.
“As much as I am looking forward to delivering Tex to his new owner, I am going to miss him a lot too,” says Megan.
“But knowing he is going to a loving home, that he will have a huge impact on his owner’s life, makes me very happy.”
We are so happy for Tex and his new journey and can’t wait to hear updates along the way. Thank you to Australian Lions Hearing Dogs for giving Tex – and other rescue dogs just like him – a wonderful second chance.
If you’re considering opening your heart and home to a rescued animal, head over here to see all our animals currently available for adoption.