Moving Away From Home

Megan and her Canine Companions Hearing Dog Ras

Megan often has her nose buried in a book. When she’s not reading for fun, she is studying to take the bar exam this summer. Megan recently graduated from law school at Northeastern University in Boston, but she didn’t always think that her life could take her so far from her home in California.

The reason why

“I was born deaf in both ears, so I was always dependent on my parents,” explains Megan. “They had to wake me up for school every day. They had to find me if I was needed, as I couldn’t hear anyone call my name. I worried if there was an emergency that I wouldn’t find out in time. As a result, I was always on guard and dependent on others.”

When Megan first considered college, she worried about living on her own. She was concerned about her safety, since she can’t hear a smoke detector or doorbell. “After a few failed attempts trying light and vibration technology, I had almost given up on the idea of moving away from my parents,” Megan recalls. “I thought I would have to attend a local community college, even though I really wanted the traditional college experience and longed to be independent.”

Now enters a special dog

At this point, Megan and her mom decided to learn more about getting a Canine Companions hearing dog.

It was Megan’s experience at Canine Companions for Independence that motivated her to pursue law school. “Being with a group of people who all needed hearing dogs like I did, inspired me to become a lawyer and advocate for people who are deaf or hard of hearing,” she says. Professional trainers at Canine Companions matched Megan with her hearing dog, Ras. This two-week process, called Team Training, carefully matches individuals with disabilities with assistance dogs and helps them learn to work effectively as a team.

Confidence and reassurance

“Ras loves to help me and be my partner. She is so self-assured and gets so excited when she gets to alert me to a sound,” says Megan smiling. “One time, Ras alerted me to a noise she heard. When she led me to the source of the sound, I realized it was my neighbor’s smoke alarm going off. I could see all the smoke coming from their apartment into the hallway and was able to call 911. The level of confidence and reassurance I feel having Ras is so impactful.”