For perhaps, if the truth were known, we’re all a little blind, a little deaf, a little handicapped, a little lonely, a little less than perfect. And if we can learn to appreciate and utilize the dog’s full potentials, we will, together, make it in this life on earth.
— Charlotte Schwartz
Dogs are often abandoned when owners discover they can’t hear. Is any dog truly “perfect”? Is any human? No one is.
Deaf dogs can make some of the most wonderful companions, and many owners and trainers can attest to that. Read Sierra’s story (above with his human siblings) or Zippy, the Boston Terrier who received the Kennel Club’s highest award for obedience.
Owning a deaf dog can bring much joy. “Chelsea, Harpo and Olivia and others have taught me a lot about compassion, empathy, and true communication,” says Jackie Threatte of Adelphi, MD, who has rescued approximately 170 abandoned dogs, about her deaf dogs. Chelsea knew 40 ASL signs when she was adopted into a family of both hearing and deaf members in which everyone signs, and Jackie believes that Chelsea’s vocabulary has increased in her time with them. “Harpo and Olivia are never far away,” adds Jackie, “usually under my computer desk, with at least one of them touching a foot so they will know if I get up to move.
Christina Lee stumbled onto a deaf dog’s life when she met Nitro in November of 2010.
“Life is great when it is full of passions, and our passion is for the love and care of deaf dogs,” says Christina and this has blossomed into helping others and the launch of Deaf Dogs Rock, a website that aim to educate the general public about deaf dogs, be a resource to deaf dog owners, and help find forever homes for deaf dogs in need.
She also learned a lot in her first deaf dog experience. She admitted that after the first 48 hours of having Nitro and not being able to control his crazy wild side, she did freak out a little bit. She even told her husband that they might have bitten off a little more then they could chew. He reassured her they would sign up for training at a training facility for at least the first six months. And it did. After our first orientation they decided to sign up for six months and see if they can get Nitro’s Canine Good Citizen Certification.
Christina likes to add this advice: “If you accept the challenge of giving a deaf dog a forever home, you will need patience, imagination, perseverance, understanding, education, love, and sometimes some unusual training tools. In return you will be rewarded with a wonderful, and loving companion.”
Don’t forget, deaf dogs rock because:
- You can crank your stereo as loud as you want
- You can eat snacks and chips behind them without them knowing
- They have no idea they are deaf
- They are not scared of thunder!
- They couldn’t care less about fire or rescue truck sirens
- They sleep like a rock
- They don’t care if other dogs are barking
- In obedience class they are not distracted by other dogs or noises
- They don’t mind when someone sings off-key
- They have no fears over the fireworks on the Fourth of July
Please consider a deaf dog the next time you’re thinking of adding a canine companion to your life.