Since my last article, I have been in touch with Wispa’s new recipient, Jo. She has kindly let me shadow Wispa and her family for a day, to get an insight into the beautiful impact Wispa has had not only Jo’s life, but the life of her whole family.
Jo is a lovely lady who lives in a quiet little village. She’s married with two beautiful young girls. She was born with full hearing, but at the young age of 24, her hearing began to deteriorate. Now, 20 years later, she’s profoundly deaf in the high-frequency range. She found that hearing aids offered no benefit, so lip reading is her only way to communicate with others. Even with the ability to lip-read, communication has become more difficult over the years, and she has found that holding a conversation can leave her feeling very isolated. One exception is her relationship to Wispa: Jo can often hear the sounds she makes when she’s excited, offering her a valuable connection to Wispa.
Jo has said that the most significant impact Wispa has made on her life has not been the physical sounds that she alerts her to, but the fact that she gives Jo more of an identity when in public, giving her confidence when she’s out and about that she didn’t have before. It allows others to realize that she is not rude or ignorant. It makes this invisible disability visible to others, and reminds people that she needs their full attention to make conversation.
As I mentioned before, different dogs have unique personalities and behaviors in public situations, which determine where they get allocated. I was delighted to see that Wispa’s trainer could not have picked a better home for this beautiful dog. Wispa is a lovely dog, full of personality. Her only flaws have been that she isn’t the best with young dogs (probably because it means less attention on her), and she doesn’t settle well in complicated situations - perhaps because she’s a very social dog and wants to love everyone she comes across. Luckily, where Jo and her family live in a quiet area, and the outings that she goes on tend to be less congested, allowing less distraction for Wispa. There are also a lot of other dogs in the area, and a lot of dog-friendly places, meaning that Wispa has been able to make lots of friends with local dogs, and isn’t the only one allowed in public areas.
Jo has mentioned that she can tell when Wispa is tired of working as her tail stops wagging. From my experience, Wispa has a habit of getting so excited that her entire body wags, so it’s undeniable when she isn’t happy because she isn’t getting her way. Jo doesn’t like to take Wispa places that she knows she won’t be satisfied in - which tend to be big busy places - but luckily, where she lives, Wispa is usually perfectly happy, as she gets lots of attention from everyone, and isn’t overwhelmed or bored.
From what I could see, Wispa fitted into the family perfectly. She meant a lot to me during her training, acting as a therapy dog for me during a rough time, making it very hard to let her go. It was lovely to see that she is passing on her comfort and love in the same way she did to me with her new family. Not only has she provided support and strength to Jo, but also her two children. She truly has found her place.
She is very protective of her family - on days out, she is always looking around to make sure everyone is together. Jo said that at times this has made it hard taking her out as a part of a group, as Wispa gets stressed if anyone splits off from the group.
Wispa is a beautiful dog, able to bring out comfort and laughter in many situations. Jo said her favorite thing about Wispa is how loving and loyal she is. Her mission in life is to make sure you are happy all the time, and she certainly manages to succeed in this! One of Jo’s daughters loves that Wispa is so cheeky and full of life. I would say my favorite trait of hers is that she can sense when you are down, and makes it her duty to comfort you… as long as food isn’t an alternative option! She also gets very jealous of anyone getting a hug and makes it her mission to put herself in the middle. I am delighted to see that her quirks and traits have transferred to her new home. It's very clear that both Wispa and Jo have made a friend for life.