New partner for Barnstaple probation officer

Hearing dog Indigo is helping to transform Gaynor Trilby’s life and ‘will be anybody’s friend for a biscuit’...

A Barnstaple-based probation officer has teamed up with a new partner who is a hit with colleagues and offenders alike.

Gaynor Trilby is hearing impaired and has recently been matched with a hearing dog – a two-year-old Labrador-retriever cross called Indigo.

The specially trained dog was provided by the Hearing Dogs for Deaf People charity and is already making a huge difference for Gaynor in her home and working life.

“He alerts me to sounds at home such as the doorbell, phone, alarm clock and cooker by nudging me with his nose on my leg, then taking me to the source of the noise and he is also trained in how to react to fire alarms,” she said.

“I work with several offenders on a Community Order on a daily basis and Indigo has been a big hit with them. It is extraordinary how hard to reach people soften when they see a dog.”

Gaynor attended training at a dog hearing centre in Yorkshire to learn how to work with her new companion. It took some time before she was paired up with him because so many people are on the charity’s waiting list for a dog.

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But she said her employer Devon and Cornwall Probation Trust was extremely diversity aware and had been very accommodating.

“My colleagues in the Barnstaple Probation Office have to restrain themselves from offering him treats,” she added.

“He’ll be anybody’s friend for a biscuit.”

For more information about Hearing Dogs for Deaf People go to or telephone 01844 348100.

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