By Karen Blackledge

The Daily Item

BERWICK — Timmy the service dog has become the second dog in the nation to receive a $3,000 wireless hearing aid.

A 10½-year-old Springer-Labrador-Bassett, Timmy received the hearing aid from the University of Cincinnati, according to his owner, Neil Young, of Young's Funny Farm.

Funds were raised from the region to pay for the hearing aid Timmy wears in his left ear.

"We raised close to what we needed," Young said.

Some Kiwanis clubs donated money, and a local foundation, which wants to remain anonymous, gave $2,000.

Timmy was fitted Dec. 16 with the hearing aid, which was custom-made for his ear. He was placed in a soundproof booth to test his hearing with and without the hearing aid.

All the results were positive, Young said.

"They found a 30-decibel increase, and that's what they wanted," he said.

Neil and Vonnie Young run the nonprofit Young's Funny Farm of therapy animals that visit schools, nursing homes, festivals and other events free throughout the Valley.

The Youngs rescued Timmy in 1999, and he became Neil Young's service dog. In October 2001, Timmy started to work at the Family Assistance Center in New York City and was chosen by the New York City Police Department to work at Ground Zero after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Neil Young said Timmy was the only dog the department accredited to work at the site.

Timmy lost his hearing in early autumn.

The dog is now home and wearing the hearing aid several times a day so he can get used to it.

"We have been told it could take up to a month for him to recognize sounds and then we start working on commands," Young said.

Timmy is doing therapy work and visiting some people.

The loss in his right ear was too severe for a hearing aid, doctors at the university said. He had mild to moderate hearing loss in his left ear.

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