Covid-19: 97-year-old's 'crazy' virtual hearing dogs walk

Covid-19: 97-year-old's 'crazy' virtual hearing dogs walk


A 97-year-old woman has been taking part in virtual dog walks to raise money for hearing dogs.

Grace Know, of Wrexham, who is profoundly deaf and has to use mobility aids, said there is "no stopping" her and her hearing dog Amy.

She was called "crazy" when she aimed to raise £100 during Hearing Dogs for Deaf People's "Virtual Great British Dog Walk".

But she's now raised more than £1,000 to train more "life-changing" dogs.

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Social distancing rules in Wales mean the charity's annual event, which would usually see owners around the UK gather together, could not take place as usual.

Instead, the charity encouraged households and bubbles to participate separately and safely.

Ms Know said people called her "crazy" when she said she wanted to take part, as she generally does not walk alone, but instead she arranged to have an escort to walk the eight miles (12.8km) with her over a series of walks.

"I wanted to help raise money for Hearing Dogs as Amy is a life-changer - I couldn't be without her," she said.

"A few years ago, I had to start using a wheelchair and a walker, and Amy had to learn how to adapt to this.

"She showed such courage and determination when faced with this new challenge.

"If you ask me, 'what does Amy mean to you?' - I would tell you that she is my life."

Grace's great niece said on twitter that the charity had been a "lifeline" for her.

The virtual walks, which started on 24 October, are continuing until Sunday 8 November.

According to the charity, it costs around £40,000 to fully train and support a hearing dog for the duration of its life.

It said Grace showed that everyone can get involved - no matter their age.

How do hearing dogs help deaf people?

Cate Jones, community fundraising manager for Wales, said deafness can cause a "huge blow to a person's confidence and take away their independence".

"Many deaf people often feel extremely vulnerable in a range of situations where sounds are relied on to provide essential information.

"Hearing Dogs alert deaf people to everyday sounds such as alarm clocks and doorbells, and of course vital and lifesaving sounds like a smoke alarm.

"Not only do our clever dogs do all of this, but they also become a loyal companion that provides love and emotional support - and, as you can see, there is a very special bond between Grace and Amy."

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