Thursday, 13 December 2018
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Meet Waffle: The Crufts finalist who changed the life of her deaf owner, and has a plaque to prove it

A hearing dog in Hayes was awarded an honorary plaque last week in recognition of her life-changing bond with owner Sarah.

Sarah Khanzadeh, 14, was born profoundly deaf due to the viral infection CMV.

Her cockapoo, Waffle, is one of the first animals to be honoured with a plaque in the new scheme by TrustedHousesitters, mimicking the blue plaques which can be seen at former homes of famous people.

Waffle was anonymously voted for after the pair’s nomination as one of five ‘Friends for Life’ Crufts Award finalists earlier this year.

Hillingdon Times:

HAPPY HOUND: Sarah’s a-paw-able pooch Waffle

Sarah’s mother, Sapedeh Mohammadi, 39, emphasised what a drastic difference Waffle has made.

Sarah used to struggle with sleeping and meeting new people, but all of this changed when she met her fluffy companion.

 “Sarah would not sleep in her bedroom at all. She was afraid of the dark, not hearing anything. She didn’t feel safe at all,” said Ms Mohammadi.

“Waffle is Sarah’s ears.”

Waffle came from Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, a centre based in Buckinghamshire which is dedicated to training dogs to assist the hard of hearing.

It took Sarah a whole year from applying to finally being matched with Waffle, and they returned exactly two weeks before Christmas.

“Sarah always says ‘The best Christmas present I ever got is Waffle!’” her mother said.

Hillingdon Times:

P-AWESOME PAIR: Sarah and her furry friend

One of Waffle’s most useful jobs is her role as Sarah’s alarm clock. Once the alarm sounds in the morning, she will jump onto Sarah’s bed to get her up.

She is also the messenger within the household as Sarah cannot hear her parents calling from downstairs.

Ms Mohammadi said: “We have a little purse, we attach it to Waffle’s collar, any message we want we just write it and say ‘take it to Sarah’.”

Most importantly, Waffle can recognise a fire alarm. If the alarm goes off, Waffle will lay flat to indicate to Sarah that she is in danger.

Her mother also spoke of the incredible intuitiveness of Waffle to pick on Sarah’s emotions if she is feeling down.

She said: “We’re amazed, we’re like ‘How does she pick it up so quick?’ I even as a mum struggle sometimes!”

She is astounded by the connection between the two, saying: “I never thought the transformation would be this amazing.”

Sarah hopes to one day become a vet, so she can share her love of helping animals.

Sarah and Waffle’s Crufts video:


The Bark Box

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