Finnish Hearing and Aid Dogs (in Finnish: Suomen kuulo- ja tukikoirat ry) is an association that helps people train their dogs into personal hearing or aid dogs in Finland. Persons and dogs selected into training get help from professional dog trainers paid by the association, as well as peer support. The association also promotes the interests of users of hearing or aid dogs. Here you will find an overview of us and our work.
If you have further questions, please contact us via e-mail: info (at) koiratukena.fi
The association was founded in 1993 by people interested in training hearing dogs for themselves. At the time it was the only hearing dog organisation in Nordic countries. Since then similar organisations have been founded in Sweden, Denmark and Norway. As the association’s focus expanded over time to aid dogs, its name was officially changed to Finnish Hearing and Aid Dogs in 2010.
We are a registered non-profit association. Most of our funding comes from Finnish gaming revenue through STEA, The Funding Centre for Social Welfare and Health Organisations (formerly RAY). Our membership fees provided by individuals are also a source of income for us.
Much of our work is volunteer-based. The association currently employs one administrative person and outsources its professional dog training support services. Volunteers are a vital part of our organisation, for example by representing us at public events, testing the dogs, and writing for our magazine.
About hearing and aid dogs
Hearing dogs alert their owners of certain sounds the owners cannot hear for themselves.The dogs are trained to respond to specific sounds, get the owners’ attention, and bring them to where the sounds are coming from. Common examples are the owner’s doorbell or mobile phone. In the case of smoke detectors the dogs are trained to get their owner’s attention, lay down and lead them to safety.
Aid dogs help their owners with specific health issues. Currently the association works with diabetes aid dogs and, as a pilot project, with epilepsy aid dogs. Diabetes aid dogs smell their diabetic owners’ changing blood sugar levels and alert them to take action. The epilepsy aid dogs in the pilot project are to alert their owners’ family members via barking or pushing an alert button when the owner has an epileptic seizure.
Hearing dogs and aid dogs are recognised by Finnish law as service animals. They are allowed to go anywhere in public with their owners, including establishments handling or serving food.
The association tests these dogs as per its standards. Both their ability to perform their specific tasks and their behaviour in public settings are tested. It can then grant them the use of its vests and an identification card, both of which are signs that the dog is a certified hearing or aid dog. The dogs are tested and ID cards renewed accordingly every two years.
Suomen kuulo- ja tukikoirat ry (Finnish Hearing and Aid Dogs)
info (at) koiratukena.fi
+ 358 40 5007347
(please use our Finnish name for clarity when mailing us)
Suomen kuulo- ja tukikoirat ry
Our office is located in Light House (Valkea Talo) in Helsinki, Finland. The building is a home for many organisations whose work relates to issues of hearing or sign languages. Please let us know in advance if you are planning a visit to our office!