Broadford School has a very special guest

Pupils at Broadford Primary School had a very unusual guest in assembly last week.

With his energetic tail, wet nose and gentle manner, Barney the dog was an instant hit with all the children. But Barney is no ordinary canine. From the age of just six-months he has been trained to help people who have hearing loss.

Barney’s owner Jean is profoundly deaf. Although she was able to hear until the age of eight, her hearing deteriorated rapidly and it was not long before Jean needed a cochlear implant to be able to hear.

Even with this, there are many things she cannot do, which is where Barney comes in. The children learnt about how he lets her know when the doorbell is ringing by running up and putting his paws on her. When the alarm clock goes in the morning, Barney leaps onto the bed to wake Jean up.

Jean said: “When Barney had to go to the vets for the day I really missed him. Without his help, I couldn’t hear the front door, I didn’t know the phone was ringing and I couldn’t hear my son calling for me. Life without Barney is unbearable and lonely.”

The Broadford pupils have been busy fundraising for a number of causes this year, and Hearing Dogs is one that the children are now very keen to support.

Tommy Terry, 10, said: “I didn’t realise how lonely it could be when you are deaf. You wouldn’t know that your friends had been round to see you if you couldn’t hear the door.”