Hearing dog transforms the life of Lowestoft child with a fear of sleep
- Credit: Archant
Most children spend Christmas Eve deep in sleep, daring not to wake for fear of disturbing Santa.
But for Daniel Jillings, of Lowestoft, Christmas Eve has always been another sleepless night.
The 10-year-old, who was born deaf, fears going to sleep, worrying about not being able to hear a smoke alarm or the sound of his mum around the house.
Like many deaf children, for Daniel the silence and darkness at night is a frightening combination.
But this Christmas, with the introduction of Varley, a hearing dog who is always at Daniel's bedside, into his life, Daniel will finally be able to sleep soundly.
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Provided by Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, Varley gives Daniel the security and reassurance he needs to be able to sleep at night, knowing he is not alone.
Daniel said: 'I feel safe with Varley around. I'm not going to miss my alarm. I'm with him, not on my own.
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'The best Christmas present for me would be for more deaf children to have a hearing dog to help them just like Varley helps me.'
Daniel's mum, Ann Jillings, said: 'Daniel needed constant reassurance. It was hard for him as he was so scared of going to bed and heart-breaking for the rest of the family.
'It could take two hours to settle him and then he would wake up many times during the night. Daniel was exhausted and so was I.
'But now he has his hearing dog Varley and when it's bedtime, Daniel is so relaxed and happy.
'He just gives me a kiss and signs 'Goodnight mum, me and Varley are going to bed!'.
Hearing Dogs for Deaf People have been running a Christmas appeal to help more deaf children with a fear of going to sleep receive the reassurance of a hearing dog next year.
Mrs Jillings said Varley had transformed Daniel's life. She said: 'Daniel is like a different child. His quality of life has dramatically increased thanks to Hearing Dogs and Varley.
'Varley curls up in his basket next to Daniel's bed and the pair of them drop off peacefully together.
'If Daniel wakes up in the night, he knows Varley is there and when his alarm goes off in the morning, Varley wakes him up by putting his paws on the bed.'
To donate to Daniel and Varley's appeal visit: hearingdogs.org.uk/helping-deaf-people/stories/daniel-varley/