I began to lose my hearing at age 45. The diagnosis was that my loss is genetic and would decline over time. At that stage in my life, I was a professional speaker, and struggling to hear was not a good thing as I could not understand questions being asked of me from the audience. I folded up my ego and got my first set of hearing aids at age 50. To date, I have purchased seven sets of hearing aids as my decline was moving more rapidly than anticipated. I then developed Meniere’s Disease which brings on spontaneous vertigo and nausea episodes as well as an additional loss of hearing that is typically not regained. When I have an episode, I lose my balance, get extremely nauseous, and need to get help quickly. The silver lining to these disabilities is my Topaz Assistance Dog, Ziva. She acts as my ears and alerts me when my alarm clock goes off, the kitchen timer dings, my cell phone rings, and if there is a siren close by from an ambulance or fire truck. She acts as my legs if I were to fall by retrieving my cell phone so I can call for help. If a vertigo episode hits, she counter-balances me so I can focus and get to a safe place as quickly as possible. Ziva has changed my world. We are a team with a purpose along with being best friends.