Why Adopt a Deaf Dog?

Juliet, now Ellie

Juliet, now Ellie

“Why the heck should I consider a DEAF DOG?!” by Sandi Keene

These were the words that kept playing in my head when Gisele told me about Juliet, the Australian Shepherd  and asked us to meet her. Why a deaf dog? Why us?! We just want another dog.  A NORMAL dog!

Gisele had told me that deaf dogs are very special and intuitive.  Really? Hmmm.  Only one thing to do – head to the internet and google “deaf dogs”.  I spent hours in front of the computer reading story after compelling story of families that adopted deaf dogs and have adopted deaf dogs exclusively from then forward. The same story repeated from family to family.  Stories of intimate connection, of loyalty, and love. I was frankly fascinated.

EllieI watched videos on how to train a deaf dog because I had no idea how to train them, how to correct them or simply, how do you call them?  Hand signals and sign language are used to communicate along with body language/facial expressions.  That seems pretty straight forward. We can do that!

I called my family together and told them about Juliet and the research I had done.  They were open to meeting her and interested in the differences that we would discover.  We met Juliet and we loved how affectionate and playful she was.  She bonded immediately with our border collie/husky mix and they played together right off the bat despite their enormous size difference. We adopted Juliet the next day and renamed her Ellie.

EllieHere is what we have learned so far. Deaf dogs are simultaneously the same as any other dog and very different.

Ellie is a dog. She acts like a “normal dog” in almost every way.  She barks when she sees someone walking past our house or headed up our driveway guarding her territory.  When we sign “hush”, she stops. She plays, sleeps and wants affection like any other dog.  She has learned the hand signals for “sit”, “stay”, “come”, “no”, “treat”, “hush”, “go to your crate”, “go lie down” and most importantly, “good girl”. She has learned these 9 signs in the 4 weeks that she has been with us. She is smart and eager to please. We are working on “shake” and “up” now.  I know she will quickly master those as well. Our hearing dog has learned the hand signals as well.

The only real difference in behavior is she does not respond to auditory commands.  We still call her by name and whistle for her because it is just so ingrained. (She’s trained but we are not!) She is not bothered by vacuuming, loud noises or yelling across the house for each other. She likes to nap in doorways where she can see several rooms of the house at the same time.  She prefers to be woken up if you are leaving the room so she can go with you and not wake up alone.

Now This is precious!

Now This is precious!

Deaf dogs are very different in the way that they connect with you. Ellie checks in with me constantly.  No matter what she is doing, her eyes dart over to me to connect.  She doesn’t just look in my direction, she seeks eye contact if possible.  Whatever room we are in, that is where she wants to be.  She loves to nap in my art studio while I paint. Or she follows me from room to room while I do chores. She is not underfoot – just nearby, in case I want to communicate with her.  If I step away from her, she will find me quickly as somehow she always knows where to look.  I have no explanation for that.  At night, if I flash my cell phone light in her direction, she comes running.  Any indication that you want her and she is there.  Ignore is not in her vocabulary.

The bottom line for us is that she is a wonderful dog. She can’t hear but who cares? She compensates for that in a hundred wonderful ways. I am so grateful that I listened when Gisele knowingly said, ” just meet her and decide”.

Email us for more information: TheDogLiberator@gmail.com







Related Posts

Deaf Dogs Hear with Their Hearts

The Chosen Ones, Owning a Deaf Dog

Leave a Reply

Follow

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers:

%d bloggers like this: