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How a Service Dog Changed a Woman’s Life

A woman living with a hearing disability has reason to face life with unrelenting optimism, all thanks to her hearing service dog, a special canine companion, tasked with helping her navigate the world safely every day.

To Kate Weaver, the dog, named Kona, is more than just a dog.

Kate Weaver lost her hearing, a service dog changed her life

In a recent interview with GHS News, Weaver opened up about her hearing disability and her journey with her service dog, whom she cherishes deeply. Weaver began experiencing hearing difficulties about 10–12 years ago, which she initially mistook for a cold.

“I woke up one morning, and I had lost the frequency in my ear for speech,” Weaver narrated. “I thought I had a cold, went to the doctor, and they tested and said ‘No, this line of frequency is just gone’.”

From that time, it became harder for Weaver to interact and socialize with people, as she’d struggle to hear what others were saying to her. Despite acquiring a hearing aid after her diagnosis, she still felt as though there was something else that could help her adjust to her new normal much better: a hearing service dog.

Weaver applied for one from the National Education for Assistance Dog Services (NEADS) and fundraised for the cause. Thankfully, the fundraiser was a success.

NEADS paired Weaver with her new canine companion, Kona, about a year ago. Now, the two are inseparable, and Weaver can’t imagine life without the dog. Kona accompanies her everywhere, and she knows she can count on him for all the sounds she can’t hear.

What to know about NEADS hearing service dogs for deaf partners

NEADS has been paring service dogs with people suffering from disabilities since 1976. It takes the charitable organization almost two years to extensively train a dog to become a skilled hearing service dog.

NEADS spends roughly $45,000 on breeding, raising, and training a dog. For you to get a NEADS service dog, you need to submit your application to the organization. Once approved, you’re requested to fundraise $8,000 as a donation to NEADS.

After a successful fundraiser, and once a dog completes training, NEADS then pairs the canine with their human.

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