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Martin Woman Receives Hearing Dog

By Heather Mathis
By hmathis@wbbjtv.com

WEAKLEY CO. Tenn. - A Martin woman, who is nearly deaf, was given a new helper from the organization "Dogs for the Deaf" this weekend.

Rena, a one-year-old Chihuahua mix, was rescued from a shelter in California and trained to help alert her new owner, Dolores Mansfield, to everyday sounds inside her home.

Mansfield lost all of her hearing in her right ear three years ago, and only has 40% remaining in her left ear.

"I have not heard the doorbell, the door, or the timer, and I doubt I would hear the fire alarm," said Mansfield about life before Rena.

Mansfield applied for a hearing dog with the organization in September 2012, and was approved for Rena this June.

"The bond that happens so quickly in the three to five days they are with their new parent is amazing," said trainer Chelsey West. "It's a great feeling."

Now, when Rena hears the sound of the phone or knocks at the door, she alerts Mansfield and takes her to the sound.

"She's so cute," said Mansfield. "She will look around and make sure I am following her."

Rena is also trained to alert her to sounds outside and in public.