A hearing dog won a national award for her work helping her deaf owner support elderly people at a Banbury care home.
Betty the Golden Retriever was given Hearing Dogs for Deaf People's Community Champion Award at a glamorous ceremony in London.
The six-year-old hearing dog was honoured for giving owner Wendy Martin the confidence and independence to work at Green Pastures Christian Nursing Home on Bath Road.
Wendy – who has a severe hearing impairment – overcame years of feeling anxious, stressed and lonely with the help of Betty and she spreads that to the residents at the care home.
“Betty is always looking out for me, which is particularly helpful as deafness is not always an obvious disability, and I don’t sound deaf to others," she said.
"She discreetly shows people that I do have hearing loss, which helps them to realise that I might not be able to hear them.
“Betty is also a big asset for the home – in fact my boss says she’s our biggest asset.
“People often have to give up their dogs to come into this home so it’s lovely to have a dog here.
"Betty helps people forget their worries, whether that’s their illness or circumstances, even if just for a short time. You don’t need a tablet; you just need a Betty!”
TV presenter Rachel Riley hosted the ceremony at One Marylebone, London, on September 28, where many inspirational hearing dogs were celebrated.
The charity’s Royal patron, HRH The Princess Royal, presented the trophy to Betty and Wendy alongside celebrity supporters Strictly Come Dancing star Karen Hardy and TV vet Marc Abraham.
On Betty receiving the award, Wendy said at the ceremony: “I feel so honoured to be here tonight, but it really is all about Betty, who has changed not just my life, but those of everyone she meets.
"She is the most wonderful hearing dog, and I will remember this night forever.”
Riley, who is herself a dog owner and passionate supporter of Hearing Dogs, said: “Being involved in this year’s Hearing Dogs Awards has been incredibly emotional and heart-warming.
“The ways in which hearing dogs transform the lives of their deaf recipients is incredible; from alerting to important sounds hearing people often take for granted through to giving someone the confidence to leave their home, each story is testament to how hearing dogs all over the UK are making make such a profound difference to the lives of their deaf recipients.”
The charity’s chief executive, Michele Jennings, said: “We are always so humbled by the stories we hear during the nomination process for this special awards event.
"It’s a great opportunity to applaud individuals and their canine best friends for the way in which they live their lives together as part of a very special partnership.”
Hearing Dogs for Deaf People is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year.
Betty was one of six national award winners at the ceremony – to read about the other winners click here.