<b>THE LIONS CHANGED MY LIFE</b> <b>A Canine Hearing Aid</b> At the Henderson County Public Library, Kim Compton’s dog isn’t in her office just for his good looks and constant companionship. Mario, a Lhaso Apso mix rescued from an animal shelter, is on the job with Compton. The longtime library employee was born deaf and Mario is her hearing aid dog, obtained with the assistance of the Hendersonville Lions Club in North Carolina. Her mother had measles during pregnancy, which contributed to Compton’s hearing loss. “At first, I thought everybody was ‘normal’ like me until perhaps in early school,” Compton said. “I realized that I am so different from others.” Trained by International Hearing Dog Inc. in Colorado, Mario is the first hearing aid dog sponsored by Lions in North Carolina, a partnership that’s benefitted Compton immensely. He alerts Compton by tapping her leg. He recognizes a bevy of sounds that Compton has never experienced, such as cars coming near her, people entering her office, the doorbell ringing or a faucet left running. <b>Q&A: Kim Compton</b> <b>LION Magazine: What made you interested in getting a hearing aid dog?</b> Kim Compton: Before the death of my previous pet dogs, I depended on the dogs as my best friends. David Sentell, my neighbor who is a member of the Hendersonville Lions Club, mentioned to me about the hearing aid dog and that he was allowed in rented apartments and workplaces where the pet dog would not be allowed. Lions here had done much for the blind but nothing for the deaf. They approached me about the chance that I might get a hearing dog. <b>LM: What was it like meeting Mario?</b> <b>KC:</b> I was somewhat nervous and maybe a little apprehensive because I never had a hearing dog nor been around one. Mario’s ambition spurs me on greatly. Since Mario arrived, I realize there are so many sounds that I can’t hear that Mario alerts me to. For example, when someone is walking in the hallway, Mario alerts me. Amazing how he can alert me to the sound from the bush that birds are hiding there! <b>LM: How have Lions improved your quality of life?</b> <b>KC:</b> With their wonderful support and spirit, my quality of life has been improved. The club’s awareness of hearing-impaired people has been greatly recognized. <b>Lions:</b> have you heard from a beneficiary or a recipient of your kindness, service or charity? Tell us about the feedback you receive from those whose lives you’ve changed for the better. E-mail a brief description of your correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include “Thanks and Appreciation” in the subject line.
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