Luke the hearing assistance dog fully accredited

ACCREDITED: Cowell Lions member Allan Zerna with Ms Bessant and dog Luke last week at his presentation.
ACCREDITED: Cowell Lions member Allan Zerna with Ms Bessant and dog Luke last week at his presentation.

After months of training in Cowell, Lions hearing assistance dog Luke was presented with the official collar and tag of an accredited hearing assistance dog.

Luke moved to Cowell in August last year to assist local Barbara Bessant, who recently lost her previous assistance dog Nelly to old age.

After rigorous training at the Australian Lions Hearing Dogs headquarters in Adelaide, his training continued with members of the local Lions visiting Ms Bessant regularly to test his response to several important household sounds.

The organisation works with local lions clubs to train their dogs to assist deaf and hard of hearing community members with recognising vital sounds like a knock at the door, a ringing telephone or a smoke alarm.

With his training officially complete, he visited the Lions meeting last Tuesday February 4 to be presented with his accreditation in the presence of his volunteer team of trainers.

Cowell Lions member Allan Zerna said a volunteer went to Ms Bessant's home three times a week to test Luke and ensure he was reacting properly to different sounds.

"A member went around and activated the different sounds," he said.

"We had to mix it up a bit, he's a pretty smart dog.

"The smoke alarm is one of the critical ones...he rushes over to her and alerts her to what's going on and drops down at her feet."

Mr Zerna said for the other sounds Luke leads Ms Bessant to the source, be it a knock at the door or the oven timer.

"So he passed all that with flying colours in early December and he's got the accreditation papers and his accreditation collar," he said.

Ms Bessant said Luke had been helpful as she had gone nine months between hearing assistance dogs.

"The difference he's made has been quite dramatic the last four months," she said.

"He does quite a few different things...and on occasion he'll tell me when something foreign is in the yard, but it's normally only a small little sleepy lizard and I tell him to leave it alone.

"I would like to thank the Lions guys for coming around for 12 weeks ... they helped to coordinate me and the dog to work as a team." Luke certainly is a character.