Terry Marshall & Hearing Assist Dog Carson
Imagine not being to hear the alarm clock in the morning. How would you wake up to go to work? How would you start your day? This is the challenge Terry Marshall of Miltona, Minn. has battled for the last 20 years. Terry has Meniere’s disease, which led to progressive hearing loss. Luckily his wife, Connie, has been able to help rouse him out of bed in the morning, but there have still been numerous other sounds he finds himself missing.
When asked what sounds he has trouble discerning, Terry responds jovially, “I’m not sure because I can’t hear them!”
Terry wears hearing aids, which help some, but they have not been a complete solution. Over time, his hearing has continued to deteriorate. Terry has trouble hearing the telephone ring and cannot tell if his name is being called. Living in a rural area, Terry worries that he wouldn’t know if someone pulled into the driveway or was knocking at the door.
After learning about Can Do Canines from his daughter, Tami Summer—also interested in a Hearing Assist Dog—his interest was piqued.. So he decided to apply himself. In less than a year, Can Do Canines paired him with a three-year-old black Labrador retriever named Carson.
Like many with hearing loss, Terry has trouble pinpointing the location of the sounds. This is where Hearing Assist Dog Carson shines. Not only does this assistance dog alert Terry that a sound is happening, he leads him to its source. Someone pulling into the driveway, a door knock, the oven timer … Carson is on it.
“Carson brings me peace of mind because he helps me to be more aware of my surroundings,” Terry says.
But the best thing about having an assistance dog, according to Terry, is that Carson helps get him up in the morning. Terry sets the clock and when it rings Carson bounds over to him and wakes him. He no longer needs to rely on his wife’s assistance or worry about missing an early morning appointment.
“I am more independent since Carson started waking me up in the morning,” Terry says. “He does a really good job at that.”
It might even be possible that Carson does his job too well. One day Terry and Carson were in a store and there was a young girl walking down the aisle. Carson’s ears had perked up and he was really interested in what she was doing. Terry couldn’t figure out why. As she started to walk closer, Carson’s interest continued to grow. Finally, Terry determined the cause. The young girl had a squeaky toy in her hand and she was pressing it as she walked. That’s Carson—always on duty.
Since Carson joined the family, Terry says he can’t imagine his life without him.
“He makes a difference in the way a person looks at life. He’s a joy to have in the house.”
To everyone who played a part in make Carson a reality, Terry offers his appreciation.
“Thank you. It’s amazing what everyone has done to train these dogs.”
Thank you to all those who made this partnership possible:
Puppy Raiser—Kathryn McFadden
Dog Source—Animal Humane Society
Long-term Foster Homes—The Inmate Handlers at the Federal Correctional Institute at Waseca