A DEAF man from Martock has decided to give the profits of his heart-warming book about his hearing dog to the charity that trained him.

Michael Lawson’s hearing loss was progressive, and as he lost his hearing he also lost his confidence.

In 2002 Michael, aged 53, lost his home, his marriage, his business and his father. He withdrew from the world of communication, becoming more and more reclusive. His children had grown up and moved on and he felt totally alone.

That was until the arrival of Matt, a spaniel cross from a litter of nine puppies specially bred by Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.

He was trained to alert Michael to everyday household sounds like the doorbell and telephone, and to danger noises like the smoke alarm. Matt has also gradually brought Michael back into contact with people.

“Matt has changed my life”, said Michael. “After so many years of shunning social interaction due to mishearing and misunderstanding conversations, and the embarrassment that causes, I started attending parties again.

“A guest remarked how well I was coping considering my deafness and asked if I had always been like this. My friend replied ‘No. He’d be almost entirely reclusive if it wasn’t for the dog’.”

Michael’s book ‘If It Wasn’t For That Dog!’ charts the ups and downs of learning to live with a hearing dog, and gives an honest insight into deafness, as this excerpt illustrates: “What will my future hold?” he asked. “Further deterioration in my hearing? Very probably, and perhaps the prospect of the all pervading silence of complete deafness.

“But one element of the future for which I hold high hopes and expectation is the continuing relationship I have with a small black and white dog who exploded into my life.

“Matt has helped me to learn that this condition does not need to prevent me from doing anything I want to do, or from experiencing the future as I want it to be.

“Whatever else the future does or does not hold, I have hope and confidence. None of the changes I have made could have happened if it wasn’t for that dog. Matt makes every day special – I just love him so much.”

Michael Lawson’s paperback book ‘If It Wasn’t For That Dog!’ (under the pen-name Michael Forester) is available online by clicking on the link in our "related articles" section on this page of our website.