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Sam and Certified Hearing Dog Jamison have been a team for nearly one year, and they’re doing great together! Sam works at the White House and lives in the greater DC area. We connected with Sam to find out how their first year has gone, and how life is different with Jamison (aka, Jamie).

Q: What prompted you to seek out a Hearing Dog? Did you need any encouragement to move forward?

Sam: I definitely needed a little encouragement. Since I never had a dog before, my roommate and I fostered a number of dogs to get me comfortable with the responsibilities of having a dog around first.

Through that process, I found that I really loved having a furry companion. I felt even more drawn to a hearing Service Dog after I went from being hard of hearing to complete and sudden deafness a few years back. It was incredibly scary, and I knew I needed a backup in case I lost my hearing or went deaf again. After a lot of research, I applied through Dogs for Better lives.


Sam and Jamie stay hydrated while out on a hike together.

Q: What was it like meeting Jamie?

I was really interested in Jamison (I call him Jamie) because he was super chill. He was the kind of dog to excitedly say ‘Hi’ and then immediately head back to get some rest.

When I first met him, Jamie was absolutely ecstatic! We’re probably much more in sync now that we’ve been together virtually every moment of the past year.


Q: Is life different with Jamie around?

Jamie has added a strong sense of reassurance and heightened awareness in my life. He is always in tune with his surroundings and never fails to let me know when there are other dogs and interesting sounds.

He is also super handy around the house. He is the alarm master! Ovens, and smoke alarms, and phones – Oh my! He will search high and low for me, booping and bopping away to alert me to a sound. I know that I’ll never miss alarm with Jamie around!


Sam and Jamie pose on the Navy steps of the Eisenhower Executive Building with the flags raised ahead of the Australian Prime Minister’s visit

Q: Has Jamie’s presence changed your professional life?

At the White House where I currently work, he always adds to the excitement and serendipitous moments of people wanting to say hello. Typically no other dogs are allowed. My goal is still to have Jamie meet the President someday!

Sam and Jamie pose at the Washington Estate in Mount Vernon.

Q: What are some of Jamison’s favorite things to do in his downtime

Jamie is super relaxed and reliable. When he is not resting, he absolutely loves long walks up to an hour or two –  to tire him out. He is also clearly social when a group of people are over, he will literally greet each person at least once every 30 minutes. He makes sure no one feels left out!


Q: Anything you want to share with our donors, volunteers, and staff?

Thank you so much for the opportunity to have Jamie to love and care for me, and support my disability.


Hearing Assistance Dogs are trained to alert people to household sounds that are necessary for everyday safety and independence. They are trained to alert to sounds by making physical contact (jumping on you, or nosing you) then leading you to the sound. Additionally, many of our Hearing Dogs are also trained and certified for public access.  Learn more about Hearing Assistance Dogs and apply at dogsforbetterlives.org/hearing-dogs

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