Hearing Dogs: “absolutely fabulous”

Puppy Digit on her first day with foster family.

Lesley Whitehead and her hearing dog Digit go everywhere together in a team-relationship she says is “absolutely fabulous.”

“When I am not wearing my hearing aids, I can’t hear anything,” she says.

Digit helps her hear:

  • the phone
  • smoke alarms
  • door knocks
  • door bells
  • the kitchen timer
  • the alarm clock

Whitehead was having trouble hearing these things before she got Digit. And now when the alarm clock or smoke alarm goes off and she is in bed, “Digit jumps up on the bed and makes contact,” like saying ‘hey mom, it’s time to get up.’

“She get rewarded for alerting me to sounds,” she says. She has treat jars all over the house for this purpose.

When the door bell rings or someone calls, “she puts her paw on my knee,” and Lesley asks her what it is and the dog shows her by bringing her to the door or phone or outside if, heaven forbid, the smoke alarm goes off.

Lesley Whitehead and Digit

“If I am in the mall and someone is calling my name, Digit tells me.”

Digit also helps to keep her safe when they are walking out together.

“I can’t hear people approaching me from behind,” but Digit tells her.

They have been a team since December 2008 and they are the oldest team in the Sault from the Lions Club Foundation, who supplied the dog, free of charge.

And one thing Whitehead wanted to note: “please do not pet a working dog. That is our biggest problem. The dogs need to be focussed on us, the handlers, not the public.”

For those wishing to participate in the annual Purina Walk for Dog Guides this year, it is happening on Saturday, May 28th.



Anyone is allowed to attend the walk and they can bring their dog or friends along.

For more information about the local walk, contact Lion Robert Kerr at 705-971-1802 or email [email protected]

The Purina® Walk for Dog Guides is a national fundraising walk in support of Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides. Thanks to title sponsor Nestle Purina PetCare, and the support of other sponsors, 100 per cent of funds raised go directly to providing specially trained Dog Guides to Canadians with physical and medical disabilities.