Dave and Elaine Tarr are proud of how their new ‘children’ will soon be out making a difference to the lives of deaf people.

The couple from Bankside in Headington, Oxford, have joined the charity Hearing Dogs for the Deaf’s breeding programme and are now helping mum Jolly rear her six offspring.

The three males and three females — called Vinnie, Vincent, Victor, Verity, Violet and Vienna — will next week be off to begin their training to eventually become dogs who will help deaf and hard of hearing people.

Mr Tarr, 52, said: “This was a first for us, although we have done puppy socialising before.

“It is quite a big thrill to know hopefully they will perform a really worthwhile task.

“We have invited everyone we know to come round and see them so they get used to people and get used to being handled so when they get into training it doesn’t come as a surprise.

“Jolly is fine, although she gets a little bit weary with them now. But she’s been a really good mum and is in really good health as well.”

The couple originally started out as dog walkers to give the charity’s animals at its kennels some exercise, before graduating to puppy socialisers — introducing a dog from the age of seven weeks to nine or 10 months to as many different social situations as possible, in readiness for their future role.

Last summer they took in Jolly, one of the charity’s brood bitches, and in April she gave birth to the six cocker spaniel-poodle cross puppies — known as cockerpoos.

Mr Tarr added: “We socialised a puppy called Farley last year and he started work on Monday to support a retired lady in Somerset.

“We had a demonstration of what sounds he knows and the responses he then gives his new owner.

“We have had a lot of support from Hearing Dogs for the Deaf and they had a lady who is responsible for the brood bitches coming to help us during the labour.

“But the first puppy actually arrived before she came, so we were on our own for that one.”

He added: “It will be difficult to give up the puppies but we know they perform a really valuable role helping a deaf person.”

Gemma Walton from Hearing Dogs for the Deaf said: “We receive no Government funding so rely entirely on the generosity of the general public to keep training dogs to help deaf people.

“We’re on the lookout for more people like Dave and Elaine with the time and commitment to care for the parents of future hearing dogs.”

Anyone who can help should call 01844 348149.