HUNTINGDON COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) – A local Huntingdon County hearing dog could soon make history after being nominated for a national award. But to win she needs the community’s help! And time is ticking…fast.
Meet Wellie, she’s a yellow Labrador whose mom Jen Warsing says is “the ability to her disability.”
Six years ago the two were partnered, but Warsing says life before Wellie, was extremely stressful.
“Simple things like having pizza delivered, when they would say I’ll be 20-30 minutes from the time I would hang up the phone call from that order, I would stand at the door and wait. Even cooking a meal in the oven, I would set the timer but I would be fearful to walk away, forget I had something in the oven so would sit there,” said Warsing.
That’s when Warsing made the decision to reach out for a hand. What she got back?
“I got a paw,” said Warsing smiling.
“Being deaf I found that I like to create a little safety bubble for myself. I would only go to restaurants for example that already knew me so that I didn’t have to announce to the waitresses ‘I’m deaf, you have to face me,'” said Warsing.
Wellie’s little wet nose now gently nudges Warsing to explore new things, assuring her that she’s safe, every step of the way.
“I’ve always wanted to go strawberry picking. But I was so nervous that maybe I wouldn’t hear what the rules might be and that maybe I’d do something wrong so I just never went and did it. But she loves strawberries and I was like she deserves for us to go strawberry picking and we went and had a fantastic time,” beamed Warsing.
Now, Warsing wants to honor the help Wellie gives her by helping her win the American Humane Association Hero Dog Award.
“Out of the 400 entrants in round one, the 21 top dogs moved onto the semi-finals, we’re in the semi-finals right now,” said Warsing.
Wellie is currently in the top three for her category. If she wins, she’ll move onto the final round to potentially be crowned this year’s hero dog.
“No hearing dog has ever won the 2021 top hero dog of the year,” said Warsing.
To make history, Wellie needs the community’s help.
“I believe she’s in second place currently in her category, and we have until July 15’th at noon central standard time, voting closes for the semi-final round. And people can vote daily! It’s not just a one time vote… you can vote once every day,” said Warsing.
According to Warsing Wellie is especially deserving of the award, after helping her get through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I read lips. I depend on that for communication. I depend on facial expressions…and masks completely, completely cut me off,” said Warsing.
Anxious to go out into the masked world, Warsing put her faith in Wellie, and like always, she didn’t let her down.
“A prime example I had to go to physical therapy. And I knew everything. I knew the second the therapist called my name, that she was ready for me. I knew the machine that I was using, when it was done and it beeped, she alerted me. I even knew when other people’s machines were done,” laughed Warsing.
Warsing says Wellie is dedicated 100% of the time.
“She’s my hearing dog, she’s my hero dog, she’s my bestfriend, my pandemic partner, she’s my lifeline, she’s my world,” said Warsing.
If you’d like to help Wellie make history, vote here!
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