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Lisa Davidson & Bran

Lisa Davidson and Bran

Wearing her distinctive uniform Bran was a familiar figure in the corridors of the audiology department and throughout the Royal Hospital for Sick Children.

What also made recently retired Bran stand-out is that she is a hearing dog, who helps to break down barriers and raise awareness of deafness as the cross border collie terrier worked alongside owner Lisa Davidson, a bilingual British Sign Language (BSL) co-worker at the hospital.

In a department for young people who are hearing impaired it is motivating for patients and families to see a deaf person who is a member of staff.

Children were also astonished to learn that Bran had regular hearing tests herself to remain in her “job”

Lisa said: “Bran is calm and good with people and acts as a good icebreaker.  She can be a catalyst to help children feel more relaxed when they come into audiology.

“For some of the mums and dads seeing Bran makes them think about the future for their children and how a hearing dog can help make their child to be more independent.”

Bran has helped change attitudes to deafness, acting as a four-legged advocate to the point that she and Lisa were regularly stopped and asked questions about what it means to be deaf.

Bran’s nominator said:  “Families are fascinated to learn that Bran gives Lisa independence and allows her to live alone and have a fulltime job.

“I have been totally amazed by the change in attitude to deafness that a meeting with this dog has affected.”