Dynamic duos of days past, beware. Harvey and his hearing dog extraordinaire, Astro, are now on the scene!
Harvey was born with hearing loss due to a congenital condition and started using a hearing aid in his right ear when he was three months old. Born and raised in the UK, Harvey has been a part of the d/Deaf and hard of hearing community for much of his life. He is currently a member of the Hard of Hearing Taskforce for the Arizona Governor's Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Many years ago, Harvey and his wife Lan decided that when Harvey's hearing started to decline more seriously due to aging, he would apply for a Hearing Dog. Little did he know that in March 2022, three years after Harvey submitted his application to IHDI, Astro, his soon-to-be hearing dog partner, was born.
In September 2023, Harvey and Astro met for the first time at IHDI for two weeks of team training. Within seconds of meeting, Astro was perched on Harvey's feet and leaning into him, to which Harvey obliged and provided him loads of his favorite treat - CUDDLES! Within a few days, it was obvious that this team was a match made in heaven. Harvey and Astro are both outgoing, social beings, filled with cheer and good humor--everyone gravitates toward them.
Astro has quickly made Phoenix, where Harvey and his family live, his new forever home. Astro even dons bright blue booties to cover his paws when the Arizona heat gets too intense. Harvey shared that after Astro settled into his new life, they began to see more of his personality. "He is still wonderfully affectionate and, at times, goofy. He is an absolute joy to take out in public. He is happy to dash up the stairs to get me when someone calls my name from downstairs. And he always does well 'practice alerting’ me to the smoke alarm. We took him to an Asian supermarket last week, and while his nose was 'a quiver,' he behaved impeccably."
At home, Astro is happily settling in with his new family. Harvey's youngest daughter, Fenella, delights in being awakened each morning when Astro takes an approved "flying leap" onto her bed and covers her with doggie kisses. Tazmin, Harvey's oldest daughter who recently left for college, made a memorable trip home specifically to meet Astro. When Harvey and Astro arrived home after their long drive from Denver, Harvey removed Astro’s leash, and off he went to greet Tazmin "as if she was a long-lost relative."
Harvey tells us that his colleagues enjoy Astro's presence in the office and that having him around has noticeably improved office morale. A teammate whose father-in-law passed away said she needed "an Astro hug." Harvey works for Maricopa County as part of its Workforce Development Team, and Astro has already joined him at several career fairs. Job seekers are usually stressed and anxious but then often smile when they see Astro and his Mohawk. Harvey remarks, "I can't help but feel that he lightens their mood and enhances their success rate in securing a new job."
"My best experience above and beyond his wonderful companionship has been the sudden realization that I have not had to explain my hearing loss for a month to strangers. It has been liberating!" - Harvey