During the month of October, we’ll be spotlighting the empowering, life-changing work of our latest High 5 Cares nonprofit recipient, International Hearing Dog, Inc (IHDI). We had the privilege of first spotlighting them in September 2019, and we’re thrilled to follow up with them as our October 2020 Throwback Nonprofit.

What is International Hearing Dog, and Who Do They Serve?

The mission of International Hearing Dog, Inc. is “to empower individuals who are Deaf and hard of hearing by purposefully training specially selected dogs to alert to sounds, carefully matching these dogs with handlers who are deaf and hard of hearing and supporting the paired teams throughout the lifetime of the match.”

IHDI was founded in 1979 and is located in Henderson, Colorado. Each year, they train and place about 20 Hearing Dogs with persons who are deaf or hard of hearing, with and without multiple disabilities.

The cost for IHDI to rescue, house, care, train, and place each dog is approximately $15,000, but thanks to the generous support of donors, volunteers, and the community, they provide Hearing Dogs at no cost to the recipient.

To date, IHDI staff and volunteers have trained more than 1,300 shelter dogs to assist individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing. These dogs have found homes in all 50 states, as well as in Canada! Funding and donations help provide people that are deaf or hard of hearing with the safety and independence that comes with a hearing dog.

After initially spotlighting International Hearing Dog in September 2019, High 5 Cares is honored to feature this wonderful organization for a second time!

Get a behind-the-scenes look at what International Hearing Dog is all about here in our interview with them from September 2019.

The International Hearing Dog Approach

IHDI rescues shelter dogs and trains them to assist recipients who are deaf and hard of hearing. Essentially, they train other “ears” to hear! Hearing Dogs at IHDI can be any breed and can be almost any size, though most pups are under 50 pounds.

Potential Hearing Dogs are identified by shelter staff and carefully selected by IHDI trainers. They go through comprehensive medical examinations and rigorous training.

IHDI Hearing Dogs learn to respond to three key sounds:

  • Doorbells or door knocks
  • Telephones and cell phones
  • Emergency alarms like fire alarms and tornado sirens

You can learn more about International Hearing Dog’s process and see their pups in action here in this video:

Learn more about how International Hearing Dog works here on their website.

How is International Hearing Dog Responding to COVID-19?
We know things at International Hearing Dog have changed a bit since we first featured them in September 2019. Unfortunately, the pandemic has greatly affected IHDI’s operations in regards to its ability to bring dogs from shelters. They have been limited in their ability to test the temperament of would-be Hearing Dogs in person and safely travel for placements. But they continue to press on!

Here’s an update IHDI gave us on their Foster Program

“We as a team have learned a lot over the past couple of months and first and foremost, we are so grateful that we have a community of supporters for IHDI and the people we serve. The Foster Home Pilot Program was a success, as over quarantine we were able to find incredible individuals who stepped up as dedicated fosters for all 22 dogs in our program who not only welcomed our dogs into their home but also diligently worked with our team to continue the dogs training. We were blown away by the instant support this program received, and the amazing experiences it provided for our dogs in training.

“This pilot foster program went so well that we took all feedback and we are proud to introduce our Inaugural Foster Program. To those interested, come take this journey with IHDI and our Hearing Dog Hopefuls into becoming a life-changing service dog for the Deaf and hard of hearing!

“No financial commitment is necessary and all training techniques, tools, and resources will be provided, all we need is your full commitment to upholding their training and keep the end goal in mind of these dogs going on to serve as an individual’s life-changing Hearing Dog.

“It may be exhausting at times and a difficult journey but to even be a small part of the transformation, will be well worth it. The dog will thank you, the client will thank you, and our IHDI community will thank you for your commitment to our life-changing mission. You may just find yourself with a new Deaf pen pal across the nation, a new four-legged furry friend, or a community of like-minded fosters in your area trying to change the world just like you are!”

Interested? Check out International Hearing Dog’s FAQs, requirements, and processes to foster. You’ll find all the info here on their website, along with their foster application.

International Hearing Dog Success Stories

Here are a few success stories of how Hearing Dogs from IHDI has impacted people here in our community and beyond:

Update on Hearing Dog Team Jodi & Crouton

Back in the fall of 2019, our team got to meet this darling Hearing Dog, Crouton. He was in the midst of finishing his training, and just a week later, Crouton flew to his new home in Illinois, thanks to our partnership with IHDI (our donation through High 5 Cares covered his plane ticket!).

On October 15, 2019, Crouton was placed as the ears for his recipient, Jodi Miller. Crouton is Jodi’s second Hearing Dog from IHDI after her first, Chinook, crossed over the rainbow bridge.

Jodi became a grandma last May, and Crouton’s training allowed for him to alert Jodi to her new grandbaby’s cry.

“In public places, he remains a professional dog. I am so proud of him. When I have Crouton, I feel so relaxed because I know I will not miss any sounds as I know Crouton will always let me know of them.”

— Jodi Miller

Hearing Dog Team Linda & Curly (Colorado Recipient)

IHDI’s most recent placement was with Colorado resident, Linda, and Hearing Dog Curly.

“How lucky I feel that she is mine! Needless to say, we are very proud of her! Please pass along this news of one of IHDI’s magnificent students and give High-5 to all the people who has a hand in turning a stray into the perfect example of a Hearing Ear Dog!”

— Linda, IHDI recipient

Here’s what IHDI trainer, Karissa, had to say in regards to the placement:

“Curly and Linda are the perfect team, and this was one of my favorite placements. Linda’s husband, Al, has been her ‘ears’ for every single sound. Al golfs and runs errands, so when Linda is home alone, she misses phone calls, doesn’t know when people are at the door, etc.

“The Clancys are two of the sweetest people who have struggled a lot with everything going on in the past few months [with COVID-19]. Linda wasn’t always completely Deaf, so completely losing her hearing has been incredibly tough. With the addition of the recent lockdown, isolation, social distancing, and masks, Linda had been really struggling.

“Curly immediately lit up Linda’s life. She’s so excited to be able to be independent again and to not have to rely on Al for everything now that she has Curly to help! They make an awesome team! Being a part of something that immediately changed their lives in such a big way and getting the chance to actually see it happen was such an incredible experience. It really reminded me again why we do this.”

— Karissa, IHDH trainer

Hearing Dog Team Amanda & Whiskey (Colorado Recipient)

Amanda is also a Colorado local and received her Hearing Dog, Whiskey, in February of this year. IHDH rescued Whiskey from Adams County Animal Shelter, and he was truly the perfect match for Amanda.

“With Whiskey in my life, my life has forever been changed for the better! Whiskey has forever changed my life in so many ways. With him, in my life, I feel safe and aware of what is going on in our environment, whether outside, in public, or at home. We are a team; we take care of each other.”

— Amanda, IHDH recipient

Hearing Dog Team Darwin & Crispy (Colorado Recipient)

“Thank you, International Hearing Dog, for this wonderful dog, Crispy. Wearing his work vest, he goes everywhere with me and lets people know, “this person is hearing impaired and cannot understand what all you say.” People have become more considerate and patient. A hearing loss is an invisible handicap but Crispy makes the invisible visible.”

— Darwin, IHDI recipient

Why Did High 5 Cares Choose International Hearing Dog as Its October Throwback Recipient?

Through High 5 Cares, we make a point to build long-term relationships with the nonprofits we’ve featured in the past. Featuring them more than once as throwback recipients are one way we do that!

“We got to know IHDI last year and were blown away by all they do! IHDI has an amazing team and trainers that work with the dogs. They really are a phenomenal group over there. Following along with them on Facebook and seeing the new dogs they are training has been fun for us. And we’ve loved getting updates on Crouton, the dog we got to meet last time IHDI visited! Plus, we love dogs over at High 5, so it’s a win-win for us!”

— Cassi Torres, High 5 Cares co-founder

How Is High 5 Plumbing Supporting International Hearing Dog?

High 5 Cares is honored to support the empowering, life-changing work of International Hearing Dog in a number of ways, throughout October and beyond.

  • We’ll provide every High 5 Plumbing client served during the month of October with info on International Hearing Dog and our support of their mission, including a brochure from International Hearing Dog.
  • We’ll be promoting International Hearing Dog right here on our blog and on social media throughout the month.
  • Every time you buy a hat or t-shirt from our High 5 Plumbing online shop during October, we’ll donate $4 to International Hearing Dog.
  • As is the case with all our High 5 Cares recipients, we’ll deliver a donation check to International Hearing Dog at the end of the month.
  • When you purchase a High 5 Club Membership during October, we’ll donate $10 in your honor to International Hearing Dog.
  • We’ll also give back 1% of the revenue generated from the High 5 Colorado truck during the month of October. That goes directly to International Hearing Dog.
  • We’re honored and thrilled to support International Hearing Dog for a second time in their mission to help provide deaf and hard of hearing people the independence and peace of mind that comes with having a Hearing Dog.

“Thank you once again, High 5 team! Yours is such a valued partnership for IHDI, and we are always inspired by your commitment to your local community!”

—International Hearing Dog, Inc.

How Can I Support International Hearing Dog?

We asked the folks at IHDI how we and our community can best support them, in October and beyond. Here’s what they had to say.

“IHDI truly can’t thank our community and supporters enough for the continued support we have received as we navigate through this new ‘normal!’ At the same time, we are cognizant of the tremendous impact the pandemic has played on so many lives, businesses, and the economy.

“We are acutely aware that as a very small nonprofit organization, the economic effects of the pandemic are going to be significant for us. So when we look to that future, it is most accurate to say we are excited for all our possibilities and yet cautious about our realities. With that being said, if you’re interested in supporting the Hearing Dog program, at this time, monetary donations would have the greatest impact for the IHDI program.”

Here are a few ways you can help IHDI:

  • Donate
  • Volunteer
  • Foster
  • Donate your car
  • Buy from their gift shop

Another tangible way to support IHDI is to shop their Amazon Wish List. It’s updated almost weekly with in-demand items, including cleaning supplies, training treats, and dog enrichment items.

Additionally, you can spread the word about the work International Hearing Dog is doing by telling family and friends!

And you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!

International Hearing Dog was the Denver Better Business Bureau’s December 2019 Charity of the Month. Check out their profile of the nonprofit here:

To learn more about International Hearing Dog, visit hearingdog.org.

Can I Nominate a Nonprofit I Love for High 5 Cares?

If you’d like to nominate a nonprofit you care about, you can submit your nomination right here on the High 5 Cares page. Simply scroll down to the bottom of the page and fill out the form that looks like this:

As always, thanks for your support of High 5 Cares. We look forward to hearing about the organizations around town that you care about and would like us to spotlight!

High 5 Plumbing

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