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Moving tale of the pet who takes care of his owner Klara
6:00am Wednesday 2nd October 2013 in Echo News
A DOG may be a man’s best friend...but to one Rayleigh girl her dog is so much more than that.
Klara Downes, eight, was born deaf, so her beloved pet Jasper is her ears.
The youngster spent the first seven years of her life sleeping in her parents’ bed, too afraid to be on her own.
She became frightened at night when she took her hearing aids out, saying she could hear monsters. Her parents later discovered it was tinnitus causing the strange sounds.
That’s all changed, however, since Klara was partnered with hearing dog Jasper in December last year.
Jasper has given Klara the confidence to come out of her shell and make friends...and sleep in her own bedroom.
Mum Michele, 45, of Pearson’s Avenue, Rayleigh, said: “They get on really well. She has so much more confidence, knowing that he’s here for her.
“She tells people she’s deaf and that Jasper is her ears.
She’s come on leaps and bounds since she’s had him.
“One of the main problems was Klara wouldn’t go upstairs on her own.
“Since we got Jasper, she’s slept in her own bed every night – so we all get a much better night’s sleep for it!”
Klara was born deaf, and Michele said it’s not unusual for them to visit the hospital on a weekly basis so Klara can have her hearing aids adjusted.
She added: “It can be quite difficult, but she’s been very mature and takes it all in her stride.”
Jasper, described by Michele as an angel, alerts Klara to the smoke alarm and when her mum or dad call for her. To get Klara’s attention, he’ll put his paw on her. If there is potential danger, he’ll lie down.
Hearing Dogs for Deaf People,a charity which trains dogs like Jasper, hosts its annual Hearing Dogs Awards ceremony on October 10, and Klara has been nominated for the Life-Changing partnership of the year award.
Michele said they’ve been told there will be the chance to meet celebrities including host Tim Vincent and guest Ben Fogle.
She added: “Klara’s very excited. She keeps saying to us, ‘when are we going’, and ‘when are we getting the train’. She’s got a lovely new dress with matching shoes and handbag for the occasion.
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