Until 2007, I had always worked full time. After a sudden drop in my hearing, I slowly began to notice that the weekends no longer afforded me the time to recover. It was a process, at the end of which it finally dawned on me that I had to do something. It turned out that the solution was a multistage one. I had to work a day less and also find an activity that was both enjoyable and relaxed me.
Since I am an animal lover, and already had daily contact with other people, the decision was an easy one. I would go volunteer to walk shelterdogs.
I was open and honest in my application with the shelter and disclosed my hearing loss to them as well as that I was very sensitive to loud noises.
The lady who was in charge of the section for dogs however thought that maybe walking the dogs might not be the right thing to do for me. Her reasoning was that I would be spending much time in the kennels (getting the dogs, leashing them, etc) which would be loud and I would not be able to hear if a dog was getting aggressive. It was the first time that someone had advised me against something based on my hearing loss and I was shocked. After I visited the kennels, I had to admit that it was indeed quite loud in there and that the lady had a point.
Disappointed, but not defeated, I switched to Plan B: socialize cats, play with them, and pet them so that they would become more used to people and so increase their chances of finding a forever home. But the lady in charge of the cats had the same concerns as the one in charge of the kennels. I would not be able to hear it if the cats got aggressive or … I however had no intention of giving up on Plan B. I quickly convinced the lady that I myself had two cats, and also could see their body language. Apparently that convinced her and I was able to come by 1x every two to three weeks. For that I gladly rode my velo for an hour to get there and an hour to get back.
The shelters here in Switzerland to my great relief had no objections when I volunteered to walk the dogs and socialize the cats. Here I don’t have to get the dogs myself, and the cats, ah well, they speak for themselves!
June 14th, 2015