Claire & Mocha eye contact 2

It Was Love At First Sight

1. Name:
Claire Labry
2. Hearing Dog’s Name
3. Sponsor
Sandra Didlake
4. A little about me: My background, education, work, hobbies, family:
I was born in Austin and raised out in the country (Burnet County). We’ve always had a family dog and when growing up I dreamed of having my own dog. As soon as I transferred from Angelo State University to UT Austin, I knew I was going to live by myself. So I decided that I would get a hearing dog for myself! I am a student at the University of Texas, so really that is my job. A few of my hobbies are running, riding horses, and volunteering, just to name a few. I have a beautiful family who is very supportive of me and my accommodations. Many thanks goes to my parents who have made me the person I am today!
5. A description of my physical challenge:
I am bilaterally deaf and cannot hear without the help of Cochlear Implants.
6. Examples of problems I had because of my physical challenge before I got my dog (stories of things that happened to me):
-People at my door who are knocking and I cannot hear them at the door.
-Kitchen sounds go off and I cannot hear from other room.
-Fire alarm goes off and cannot hear when asleep
-When running, I cannot hear people running faster behind me.
7. I wanted a Hearing / Service Dog because:
Because I wanted the sense of security and companionship a hearing dog gives. I can give my ears to Mocha and she can listen and be alert to help me out when I can’t. I was living alone at the time when I applied and got accepted and now my roommate is deaf as well so it is a benefit that Mocha came to home to us. Mocha gives me responsibility and structure that I need to go on with life. She is my companion and my ears.
8. I chose Service Dogs, Inc. because:
I looked up Service Dogs on Google and Service Dogs, Inc. showed up! I clicked and did research and believed that Service Dogs, Inc. does everything for their clients and dogs to their best of ability. Service Dogs, Inc. takes care to make sure every dog is well-taken care of and matched with their future companions. I would recommend Service Dogs, Inc. to anyone out there!
9. How I felt the first time I met my Hearing / Service Dog:
It was love at first sight. Mocha was the demo dog at orientation. And I thought to myself, that dog is going to be my hearing dog. And boy, she did become my hearing dog, my wonderful and happy dog. I’m so thankful to Mrs. Didlake and Service Dogs, Inc. of how they picked and sponsored Mocha. If it weren’t for y’all’s hard work and sweat, I would not have had my beautiful Mocha.
10. What it was like working with Service Dog, Inc. and its staff:
Everyone is so darn friendly! The team is very conscientious about their dogs being trained a specific way, a very healthy way that helps create a lifelong relationship with the dog’s client. Service Dogs, Inc. made sure I got everything that I needed and I never felt like I was being neglected. If we needed to take a step back in training, Service Dogs, Inc., was very patient and made sure the foundation of training was strong. I love you all! Mrs. Didlake, too! :-)
11. How my Hearing / Service Dog helps me:
-People at my door who are knocking and I cannot hear them at the door, Mocha will come up and alert me.
-Kitchen sounds go off and I cannot hear from other room, Mocha will come up and alert me.
-Fire alarm goes off and cannot hear when asleep, Mocha will jump on the bed and alert me.
-When running, I cannot hear people running faster behind me, Mocha will turn her head to the sound and I will look too.
12. How my life has changed with my new Hearing / Service Dog:
My life has changed for the better. I am more calm and collected with my Mocha next to me. She makes everything okay and better. I just have to pet her and one look of her’s at me just makes me feel secured. She puts a smile on my face every morning and knows her way of getting attention. She is my “ears.”When I went to Paris, life was miserable without Mocha and I realized how much I missed from not having her by my side.
13. How the way other people treat me has changed now that I have my Hearing / Service Dogs:
People haven’t treated me any differently.I have had several people come up to me and ask me why I have a service dog, you don’t have a disability (when I had my longer hair). I have to gently explain to them that there are all different kinds of service dogs out there.
14. How have my feelings/emotions changed now that I have a Hearing / Service Dog:
I love having my hearing dog. My Mocha makes me, again, secure and loved. I don’t know what life will be like without her.
15. I would like to thank my Sponsor for donating the $20,000 to sponsor me and my Hearing / Service Dog’s training by saying:
Oh Mrs. Didlake, where do I start?Oh I know, You are an absolutely wonderful person. I’m sure you hear that everyday, but really, you have no idea how much you have changed my life for the better. It would not have been possible if it weren’t for you and your generosity. You have a big and wonderful heart and don’t EVER stop shining as the person you are. You are forever etched in my and Mocha’s companionship.You’re one of a kind, Mrs. Didlake.

Not every dog in our program is sponsored by a single gift.  We need your help, now more than ever, as we start a new training cycle – visiting shelters to adopt new dogs for our next class.  Please consider being a Champion for next year’s dogs!