Casey Strachan and Hearing Assist Dog Fallon
By Joy Miller
Every day Casey Strachan deals with progressive hearing loss and difficulty with auditory processing, which forced him away from his career in the medical technology field. He faces this change in his life with great grace and gratitude, due in large part to the loving companions he has by his side every day—wife Linda and Hearing Assist Dog Fallon.
Fallon has been trained to alert Casey to sounds he can’t hear, like alarms, the doorbell, and the phone. She also nudges him when Linda calls from another room. But Casey especially appreciates how Fallon has allowed him to continue his lifestyle in a fairly normal manner. He loves to walk, and it can be dangerous when one can’t hear a bicycle or another person approaching from behind. Fallon hears those sounds and reacts to them, so Casey can be aware of the situation and react appropriately. He is convinced that she has prevented more than one collision on the bike path, and most likely saved him from injury.
Casey has a different perspective than most Can Do Canines clients because he’s an active volunteer, exercising dogs during the day. When asked what surprised him the most about the learning process, he says, “I was most surprised by how much I had to learn. After so much energy, time, and resources have been put into this dog, I did NOT want to go backwards.”
Casey is mindful of the responsibility. “What I don’t know about a dog of this caliber—it’s like being handed the keys to a Ferrari! Training is totally different, and I had to learn that this isn’t just a regular dog, and the commands and control and consistency are so important to a successful team.” He is proud and happy that they have bonded, are so comfortable working together, and have formed a great team. Fallon is an alert and vigilant presence, watching where Casey goes and what he’s doing. “It feels like someone is watching over me, and that is a good feeling. It’s really a ‘team’ thing,” he explains.
Casey’s family is glad to have Fallon around too. Linda appreciates the fact that Casey has someone to help assist him, but also considers Fallon part of the family. “We know we can’t interact with her like a regular family dog, but we are so grateful she’s around, and we absolutely love her!” exclaims Linda.
“I lost my whole career because of my hearing loss, which was a radical change in my life. And to think that there are people who would donate their time and their monies to make such a difference to me …” says Casey. “Words just can’t express the gratitude and thankfulness I feel for their kind hearts. It just blows my mind. I feel undeserving. Thank you—I don’t know what else to say.”
Thank you to all those who made this partnership possible:
Great Start Home: The Johnson family
Puppy Raiser: The Dion family
Special Thanks: The inmate handlers at FCI Waseca
Whelping Home: Mitch and Wendy Peterson
Breeder Host: The Sears family and The Duncan family
You: Thank you for your donations!