National award for dog who helps young deaf owner sleep safe and sound
- Credit: Archant
A devoted hearing dog has received a national award for bringing security, friendship and an end to sleepless nights to his 11-year-old deaf owner.
Varley, a three-year-old black Labrador, was awarded for being a wonderful companion to Daniel Jillings of Lowestoft, bringing the youngster independence and confidence while taking away the stress and anxiety that deafness can bring.
Daniel previously experienced debilitating sleepless nights which left him exhausted. However with Varley by his bedside, he now enjoys peaceful and reassured sleep, making family life more enjoyable and helping him concentrate at school.
Varley was honoured with the Young Hearing Dogs Partnership of the Year Award at the Hearing Dogs Awards in London, at a special ceremony hosted by TV presenter Rachel Riley.
The charity's royal patron, HRH Princess Anne, presented the trophy to Daniel and Varley alongside Penny Lancaster, one of the charity's many celebrity supporters.
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Daniel, who attends Bungay High School, said: 'When Varley arrived it was so much better. I felt safe. I could lie down in bed and know that he Varley was near me. I don't have hearing aids so people think I can hear and they just talk at me. When Varley arrived and was out wearing his uniform people then realised I was deaf.
'Sometimes if I go into a shop and pay the people will sign 'thank you' to me. They see Varley and they know that I'm deaf. I feel so proud of Varley.'
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Daniel's mum Anne added: 'Daniel previously suffered terrible nights with a sense of isolation and a debilitating fear of going to bed alone in the family house.
'He used to get very scared at night when everyone else was downstairs, but from the moment we had Varley, things changed. Within days, he was sleeping properly.'
Ms Riley, who is herself a dog owner and passionate supporter of Hearing Dogs, said: 'The ways in which hearing dogs transform the lives of their deaf recipients is incredible; from alerting to important sounds hearing people often take for granted through to giving someone the confidence to leave their home, each story is testament to how hearing dogs all over the UK are making make such a profound difference to the lives of their deaf recipients.'
Varley was one of only six national award winners at last week's ceremony.