Cocker Spaniel Biscuit has transformed Beth Bates’ life.

She has helped Beth, 54, of Luck Lane, Paddock, to resume a normal life after illness and has been the inspiration for a new career as a dog groomer.

Seven years ago Beth, woke up to discover she couldn’t hear anything.

It followed a series of ear infections and a bout of viral meningitis several years earlier, leaving her with permanent nerve damage and deafness.

“It happened overnight and it was a complete shock,” said Beth, who works as a part-time healthcare assistant at Calderdale Royal Hospital.

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She lost confidence and became isolated at home, not wanting to go out without her husband, Phillip.

Two-and-a-half years ago, after a four-year wait, Beth was introduced to Biscuit, a black Cocker Spaniel who had been trained by Hearing Dogs by Deaf People.

And it was love at first sight.

Beth Bates of Paddock with her hearing dog, Biscuit.

“There was a connection straight away when I was first introduced to Biscuit at Hearing Dogs,” said Beth, a mother of two. “There is a very close bond between us, she follows me everywhere - even to the toilet!

“She has completely transformed my life. I feel more confident now, I’ve taken up golf again and I’m out and about everywhere. She has given me a new lease of life.”

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Biscuit nudges Beth with her nose to alert her to the doorbell, phone or smoke alarm. When the alarm clock rings she jumps on the bed.

Two years also she averted a potential fire by nudging Beth to make her go to the kitchen. When Beth opened the door she discovered the kitchen was filled with smoke after inadvertently leaving the grill on.

Beth has always enjoyed brushing Biscuit and it has led to her setting up a new dog grooming business, Kutz 4 Muttz. She has taken a training course, converted her garage into a grooming parlour and her first client, a Cocker Spaniel called Evie, arrives this week.

Beth Bates of Paddock with her hearing dog, Biscuit.

Beth said: “I’ve got Biscuit to thank for setting me on this path. I love grooming and combing her and now I’m fully qualified as a groomer.

“I love grooming and am really excited about the business; I hope it’s a big success. A lot of dogs are nervous with a groomer; I want to create a bond with the dog and to make the experience as pleasant as possible.”

Biscuit is a show Cocker Spaniel and was donated to Hearing Dogs by breeder Margaret Burnham, of Cleckheaton. Margaret and Beth have become friends through Hearing Dogs and have been on two coach holidays together.

When Margaret saw Biscuit helping Beth, she was moved to tears. She has since donated another dog.

Hearing Dogs for the Deaf

Vital help from Hearing Dogs for Deaf People
  • Hearing Dogs for the Deaf, set up in 1982, trains dogs to alert deaf people to sounds they can’t hear. The dogs also help bring independence, companionship and confidence to deaf people.

  • It takes around 18 months to train a hearing dog and there are currently 900 in the UK.
  • The main breeds are Labradors, Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, Golden Retrievers and crossbreeds like Cockapoos.
  • Visit www.hearingdogs.org.uk for more information.