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Certified Hearing Dog Ganache, a Chocolate Lab with a heart of gold, stepped into Lauren’s life a year ago, and has continued to make a significant impact. We asked Lauren about her experiences with Ganache so far in a recent interview. Join us as we share their story, which is filled with moments of joy, growth, and the profound impact of Hearing Assistance Dogs from Dogs for Better Lives.

Lauren and Ganache pose for a photo while celebrating their first anniversary as a Hearing Dog Team

Like many prospective clients, Lauren initially hesitated to apply for a Hearing Assistance Dog. She had followed DBL on social media for years and saw how Hearing Assistance Dogs helped people, but she was concerned how a Service Dog would fit into her active life.

Lauren has a dynamic lifestyle filled with horse competitions, travel, and social outings. Lauren pondered whether she’d qualify based on her busy life. However, her admiration for DBL’s work and the potential enhancement to her life outweighed her reservations.

“I believed it was better to be told I didn’t qualify than to assume and miss out on the opportunity to enhance my life with a hearing dog,” said Lauren.

Ganache came to Dogs for Better Lives from Guide Dogs for the Blind. Although she was not suited for Guide Dog work, DBL trainers felt Ganache had strong potential for our programs. Through care from our training team and kennel staff, Ganache thrived in her sound work and public access training. Ganache completed her training in December of 2021 and was ready to head out and change a life. The DBL team quickly went to work finding the perfect match for Ganache.

The news of Ganache’s placement with Lauren came as a delightful surprise, arriving much sooner than expected.

“When I applied, I had been told that the wait time for placement could be up to 2-3 years. Having applied just weeks after losing my previous Hearing Assistance Dog, I figured that time would allow me to heal and prepare for my next dog. When I got the news about Ganache less than a week after being accepted to receive a dog through DBL, I burst into tears with joy,” said Lauren.

Lauren prepared meticulously for Ganache’s arrival, ensuring her home was welcoming and equipped with all of Ganache’s favorite things for a smooth transition. “The day Ganache came home, I felt the pieces fall into place. She was the sweetest, most confident girl. Her sound work was incredible, and we flew through placement training like a team that had been together for years,” said Lauren. “I recall the moment I fell in love with Ganache was when I was sitting on the living room floor during placement and Ganache laid in between my lap with one paw over my leg and promptly fell asleep. It was the sweetest moment to share with her and we still cuddle like that today!”

Since Ganache joined her life, Lauren’s world has expanded in ways she never imagined.

“Prior to Ganache, I found myself rushing through grocery shopping and avoiding town outings in general. But Ganache is so confident in town that she quickly eased my anxiety because I grew to trust her ears to keep us safe – from alerting to noises happening to her spatial awareness of people walking up behind us,” said Lauren.

Ganache’s impact extends beyond the everyday. During a cross-country flight, she astounded Lauren with her adaptability and initiative. Recognizing a sound they had never practiced before, Ganache alerted Lauren to the chime announcing the illumination of the seatbelt sign, keeping Lauren informed and safe. “Flying alone and missing important information has always been a concern of mine. Having Ganache has inspired me to travel more because I feel much safer knowing she is recognizing sounds,” said Lauren.

Lauren and Ganache enjoy many outdoor adventures together

When not working, Ganache enjoys basking in the sunshine, embodying the essence of relaxation and contentment.

Reflecting on her journey with Ganache, Lauren wishes more people understood that Hearing Dogs are an option, even for those with active lifestyles. Lauren said, “I wish younger, deaf professionals knew that having a Hearing Assistance Dog is possible even with an active lifestyle. I think DBL did an amazing job of matching Ganache and I. She is confident in town, playful at home and is persistent on those mornings when I don’t wake up to my alarm clock. I couldn’t have wished for a better match, and I think that’s a testament to DBL’s application and screening process.”

With every alert, nuzzle, and shared moment, Lauren and Ganache embody the essence of partnership, empowerment, and unconditional love.

“Since having Ganache I feel much safer to experience the world solo. Having her ears has given me a new sense of freedom and independence I never dreamt of previously and now I cannot imagine a life without her.”



Would you or someone you care about benefit from a Hearing Assistance Dog? Visit dogsforbetterlives.org/hearing-dogs to learn more about their work, and apply.

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