As the doctor asks the 7-year-old to bend over and touch her toes, there is a soft knock at the examination room door. An otherwise unobtrusive black shadow rises from the floor and puts a cold nose to Dr. Danielle Rose, alerting her to the sound. Delight is doing the job she was trained to do as a hearing dog, but she plays a much larger role in Danielle’s pediatric practice and personal life.
“While I lead exams, Delight sits on the floor and relaxes and entertains our patients,” Danielle said. “Sometimes, she serves as a demo ‘patient’ for a reluctant child.”
“Delight charms the other physicians and staff at the pediatric group in North Carolina with her ability to play hard on breaks and then return to calm, professional mode”, Danielle said.
The two became partners in January 2018. Delight is Danielle’s third hearing dog from DBL. During her medical residency in the 1990s, Danielle’s hearing loss progressed to the moderate/severe range, making work and life harder. She had a frighteningly close call when her apartment building burned down in the night. She was only rescued because of her landlord’s persistence in banging on her window. She realized she needed help, so she attended a hearing loss expo looking for answers. There, she witnessed a DBL team demonstrate a hearing dog’s training to alert to household sounds for everyday safety and independence.
“I knew I wanted a hearing dog after that, but I had to wait until I could afford a place with a yard to meet the dog’s needs,” she said.
Danielle was paired with Chuckie (a black/brown terrier cross) in 1995, who she remembers as 24 pounds of brainy speed demon. Danielle and Chuckie bonded quickly. In fact, he soon started alerting her to sounds he had not even been trained for. In his first weeks, Chuckie proved invaluable as he alerted Danielle to a phone call summoning her to a cesarean section birth that she would have otherwise missed.
Ginger, a sweet and gentle Labrador retriever, followed in 2009. Danielle describes Ginger’s successor, Delight, as obedient (but with a small streak of mischief) and adoring of children.
“Cameron and I have made DBL our No. 1 charity because we love helping both dogs and people.” Dr. Danielle Rose
“The trainer access and assistance at placement and over the life and death of our other two service dogs was so comforting,” Danielle said. “I believe this commitment to teams adds another layer of professionalism that sets Dogs for Better Lives apart.”
Danielle is one of 110 active hearing dog clients across the country, whose lives are enriched by these trained workers at no cost to her.
Delight’s comforting presence encourages Danielle to persevere despite misunderstanding words at times. “My dog also helps people remember why I might misunderstand something, which ultimately deepens our connection.”
As both longtime supporters and beneficiaries of DBL, Danielle and her husband, Cameron, volunteer as ambassadors for DBL in their local community.
“Cameron and I have made Dogs for Better Lives our No. 1 charity because we love helping both dogs and people,” she said. “It is no easy task to weather 41 years of change and continue to grow and adapt. We both feel DBL has done an exemplary job.”