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Watch Extraordinary Dogs online: Episode 4 Episode 4

In the Canadian province of Manitoba, the National Service Dogs charity trains animals to help people with special needs. In 2004, a Jack Russell terrier named Bingo was given to Dwayne and Mandi Hein by the charity. The Heins young son, Cole, was born three months premature. This led to him developing apnoea, a condition in which the sufferer can stop breathing with little or no warning. The fact that their son had to be watched at all times soon proved exhausting for the couple. I averaged four hours sleep a night, Mandi says. In desperation, the Heins approached the charity for help. Bingo, an already practiced service dog, was given weeks of intensive training with a CD of Coles breathing. From this, she learnt the pattern of the childs respiration, and now barks when his breathing becomes irregular, warning the family of an oncoming apnoea episode. This security means that the Heins can live a relatively normal life. Shes one of the family shes like one of the children now, Mandi says proudly. Over in Santa Rosa, California, Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) trains puppies to be helper dogs. Founded by Snoopy creator Charles M Schulz, the charitys aim is to use Labradors to help people with disabilities, allowing them greater independence. Starting at a young age, the dogs are given a strict six-month training course to become hearing dogs. Canines can hear a much higher pitch range than humans and can locate noises up to ten times further away. Due to the muscle structure in their ears, dogs can also accurately pinpoint the origin of sounds. All of these qualities make them superb helpers for hearing-impaired people. After learning over 40 different commands at the CCI, each dog is assigned to an owner. Marion Morgan lost over 90 per cent of her hearing due to an infection. The shock of this sudden disability meant that Marion shut herself away from the world. However, her life was transformed when CCI gave her a black Labrador named Pico. He gives me liberties I could never have before, Marion says. Elsewhere this week, Marika Rebicsek from Essex introduces her hearing dog, Amos. Profoundly deaf since birth, Marika also suffers from a severe allergy to animal hair. Luckily for Marika, Amos is a crossbred hairless Chinese crested dog, so she can be around him without fear of an allergic reaction. Having the pooch has allowed Marika to teach at a local school. Hes made a massive difference he adds sparkle to my life, Marika says.

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