Retirees Bert and Claydene Lederer keep busy promoting deaf awareness

January 14, 2015 in Community News

 

 

The Bellingham Herald
Bellingham, WA
BY LINDSAY HILTON
January 4, 2015

Bert Lederer, 79, has been deaf since he was a child. He can’t hear the doorbell ring, can’t hear the oven ding and can’t hear his wife, Claydene, call for him from another room.

That all changed when Warren, an 11-year-old Australian Cattle Dog, came into their lives 10 years ago. Warren was placed with the Lederers by Dogs for the Deaf, a nonprofit organization based in Oregon that rescues dogs from animal shelters around the U.S. to train and place them with people with hearing loss and deafness.

Warren has improved the Lederers’ quality of life, alerting Bert to sounds by nudging him gently in the direction of the sound. Warren is able to lead Bert to the correct elevator when it arrives. If Claydene, 75, needs her husband and he’s in another room, she can call Warren, who will get Bert for her.

Bert was raised in Washington, D.C. Claydene, who grew up in a military family that moved around every few years, calls Bellingham her hometown. They have a daughter and three grandsons who live nearby. They have been married for 55 years and have lived in Bellingham for 25.

“We are still best buddies,” Bert says, and that is evident.

The Lederers seem to do everything together, along with Warren, who is the subject of a children’s book written by Claydene. “Warren: The True Story of How a Herding Dog Became a Hearing Dog,” tells the story of how Warren was found in a Humane Society animal shelter by a Dogs for the Deaf trainer and eventually found his way to the Lederers.