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Ashley, an Australian Lions Hearing Dog

Ashley Australian Lions Hearing Dog

Woof, woof, my name is Ashley, I’m a Silky Terrier X (Maltese?) and an Australian Lions Hearing Dog. #420 I have been with my owner, Jan, for 10 years now and we have became inseparable.

My working life began when I was about 18 months old and a trainer from the Lions Hearing Dog training centre came to the kennels where I was staying (Adelaide Animal Welfare League, Wingfield), put me through some paces to see if I would be suitable for training which of course I was, so I was then taken to their training centre up in the beautiful Adelaide Hills at Verdun.

I was put into ANOTHER kennel which was actually a quarantine area for new dogs. While I was in there I was given a vet check, vaccinated (ouch), had an ID implanted and wormed.

After about 2-3wks I was introduced to the other trainee dogs in the big ‘run free’ area and moved into my own “room”. It was so nice there, warm in winter and cool in summer. The man that looked after the kennels was so good to us. The trainer that was allocated to me was Mary Knight. She started an extensive training regime with me which was so much fun.

I learned how to run up to her, touch her then run and “take” her to the sound she had just activated AND I got a treat for doing it!

After what seemed like and eternity (about 12 months), my training was taken over by the Head Trainer, Luiza, in preparation for getting me ready to go to a recipient they thought I might be suitable for. Well, the day came for me to meet him. Alas….he didn’t like me, I was too timid and shy of him. Just between you and me, I didn’t like him either!

Shortly after this event, I was taken in by a family (Lions) in the hope that it would cure my timidness. I was only there for a few months when I was taken back to the training centre because they had found another recipient that might suit me.

Two of the trainers took me to meet Jan and we took to each other immediately. No looking back. She had a nice house with a well fenced backyard (the trainers checked that). I moved into her place about a month later. I was one very happy, contented dog.Luiza came to visit us every day for the first week I was there to show Jan how to continue with my training and how to look after me. We met 3 couples from Willunga Lions club (my sponsoring club) who came to Jan’s house 3 times a week for 3 months to help her with my extended/in home training. They would make me work sounds around the house like knocking on the door, ringing the door bell, ringing the phone and setting off a timer that Jan could use for many purposes and of course the all important smoke alarm. This is the only sound that I work differently.

When the smoke alarm goes off, I have to run and touch Jan, drop to her feet and not move until she tells me it’s ok to do so.

I am 12 years old now and getting on a bit. Jan and I have had many adventures together over the years. I have learned about grandkids that like to doing very strange
things to me. No, my tail doesn’t come off and neither do my ears! I love it when we meet other Lions Hearing Dogs so that we can swap stories and ideas. I was so happy to be reunited with my best friend from the training centre, Marni. Jan and her Mum have become very good friends, so I get to see her often. We love going to the Lions Hearing Dog Open Days at the training centre every year to catch up with old friends and to check out the new recruits. Last year I met 9 hearing dogs that came from interstate with their owners.

We also love talking to groups about Lions Hearing Dogs and spreading the Hearing Dog word. We have visited all sorts of groups from kindergarten children to Weight Watchers. These talks make me feel very special (the centre of attention) and very proud to be a Lions Hearing Dog.

We belonged to The Noarlunga/Morphett Vale Lions club for 5 years but we moved to Goolwa in April of 2015 and we have now transferred to the Goolwa Lions Club.

I know her family are very relieved that she has me to look after her so that she isn’t alone and that I can “tell” her when sounds are happening. I came from a humble beginning with an uncertain future to having a person to care for and look after. I love the way my life has turned out. Thank you Lions.

I’m one happy dog,
LHD Ashley McMinn.
February 2017.

With the loss of most of my hearing in 1998 and the passing of my husband in 2005, I felt very alone and became very withdrawn, not wanting to face the world. When LHD Ashley came into my life I regained my confidence and felt able to cope with life again. My family were also very relieved that I had him with me. He maybe my Hearing Dog but he is so much more than that to me. I was so grateful to Lions for giving me Ashley and in learning more about what else they do, I decided to join up. That was the best thing I ever did.

Lion Jan McMinn.


  1. Jennifer Kearney says

    Oh, such a touching story. And Ashley is so cute. It’s important to get the word out that there are so many ways that the hearing impaired can lead a quality life, and to take a hearing companion dog is the best way to also gain a best friend.
    Here’s a useful article about the whole process of getting a service dog: http://www.hearlink.com.au/industry-news/investing-hearing-companion-dogs/

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