No dark side to Vader’s talents

No dark side to Vader’s talents

388
Serpentine Jarrahdale Lions Club members Sheila Fensom and Lyn Neil with Vader the hearing dog. Photograph — Aaron Van Rongen

Vader not only brings companionship and tail-wagging good times but he is also the key to making his owner feel safe and secure in his Whitby home.

Damon Barrett’s hearing dog Vader helps him with everyday tasks such as answering the door, listening out for the oven timer and alerting him to his phone ringing.

Four members from the Serpentine Jarrahdale Lions Club spent more than 12 weeks alongside Vader and Mr Barrett, assisting them with his training as an accredited hearing dog.

Club Secretary Richard Lane said the labradoodle had passed with flying colours after officially gaining accreditation on June 14.

Mr Lane said it was a pleasure to be involved in Vader’s training and he was pleased everything worked out well.

“In the final few weeks he made considerable efforts with his training, especially in regard to responding to the smoke alarm and the crying of the family’s newborn baby,” he said.

“He was also particularly good at recognising potential issues or circumstances at shopping centres.”

Mr Lane said a representative came over earlier this month from the Australian Lions Hearing Dogs head office in Adelaide to assess Vader and give him the final tick of approval.

Each Lions Hearing Dog costs more than $30,000 to train and deliver to its deaf or hard of hearing owner and after accreditation the dog has the same rights and access as that of a guide dog.

About 90 per cent of all dogs in training are sourced from pounds and shelters, including the RSPCA in South Australia and Dogs Homes of Tasmania in Hobart.