The Dog Liberator™

The Dog Liberator rescues abandoned dogs throughout the Southeast. Based in Central Florida, this non-profit organization fosters all of their dogs in a home environment. Founded in 2009, all dogs are fully vetted, spayed or neutered prior to adoption. The Dog Liberator focuses in rescuing the herding breed, which consists of Border Collies, Shepherds, Sheepdogs, Aussies, Collies, and Deaf/Blind Dogs.

Knish, the Catahoula/Aussie~Adopted

Knish, the Catahoula/Aussie~Adopted

Update: Knish is being fostered in the Orlando area. I find it amazing that everyone who has come in contact with this little dog has helped her with her training and her self-esteem. Today, her foster writes that she is amazing on leash, very intelligent, knows her commands, and is a joy to foster. We have also been told that she ignores cats, which is always a plus. If you are interested in getting more information about Knish, email

Here’s a new video of Knish on Facebook!

History: Several months ago (in rescue time) Hall County animal shelter had a litter of b-e-a-utiful Catahoula/Aussie pups up for adoption, all no larger than the size of my palm.

All of them were levels of blue merle, and most of them were white with blue eyes. Having much experience with litters like these, and knowing the breed characteristics of the parents, we had an inkling feeling that many of these puppies were deaf.

Needless to say, we had our name all over them.

Knish (second on the left) and some of her litter mates.

A few emails where sent, and there was agreement that as soon as the puppies were weaned, they would be Florida bound. I was giddy over the photos of these puppies (I have a soft-spot for merles) and the weeks until they came to us just couldn’t go by fast enough. Yet just as the deadline was drawing nearer, somehow a wrench was thrown in to our system.

The temporary foster had adopted the litter out!
Somehow it wasn’t conveyed this pups already had rescue, and one by one, they were adopted out.

Only one little puppy remained–a mostly white, blue eyed female. Unquestionably, she was deaf. She, too, was adopted, and then there were none. It was to this little white puppy that I felt a strong connection to. For some reason, I knew she’d come back. I hoped that the feeling would pass, but when you know, you know. And I just knew I’d see that puppy again.
We were all devastated, as we knew that TDL was fully capable of finding homes for all of these puppies, but we cut our losses and prayed that they had all found their true homes.

Now, after being a part of The Dog Liberator for only a short time, I can still say I have heard the mantra “What is meant to be is meant to be” enough times to believe it.  And boy, do I believe it.

Two fosters later and a few months past, and I get an email from Vicki Truelove.

We are the family that adopted the deaf dog from the shelter a few months ago. The one with ice blue eyes… mother is catahula Kerr and father was possibly australian shepherd. Please help us find her a great home! We know she needs more exercise and play than we are able to give her… She’s very playful and loving. We have 7 kids and with all their activities she is crated about 3-4 per day cause we cannot take her with us always. Would like someone that’d have more time to give to her so she’d have a better life.”

One of the photos sent along with the former owner's email.

I didn’t have to scroll down to view the attached photos to know what dog they were talking about. I knew. My heart leapt.
I immediately emailed Vicki back, telling her I’d take her. I had zero deaf dog experience–I had only briefly mentioned to Gisele how I would like to learn.

Shortly after, I contacted my manager at work, who is a Nationally acclaimed trainer, and asked her for help. She owns a deaf French Bull dog, and was more than willing to help me learn the techniques to train and manage deaf dogs. If you couldn’t tell, I was dead set on taking this girl in.

What is meant to be is meant to be, right? 
I knew this girl was meant to be a Dog Liberator Dog the moment I saw her. It was just a matter of when.

So–What do we know about Knish?

…We’ve already established she is deaf, so now what? We all know deaf dogs are incredible; all it takes is a peek at China and her story to understand what I mean.
But for those of you who are still skeptical after reading, let me rattle off a few more stories for you to look in to.  KissIrwinDundeeFionaBaby GaGa…all these dogs share the commonality of being deaf. But don’t be fooled in to thinking it’s the only thing they have in common, oh no. All of these dogs have also found their forever homes! For more information on deaf dogs, and TDL’s mission,  look here.

I was hesitant to post her blog page for a few days, because I wasn’t sure what to say. I was afraid she would be undesirable; I was afraid people would be put off by her hearing impairment. After having her for a few days however, it’s clear as day to me now that anyone who would be deterred by Knish’s inability to hear hasn’t the slightest idea what they are missing.

Playing with her favorite ball, and posing pretty for the camera!

This dog is fascinating. Simply put, I’m enthralled by her.
The first night, I slept on the floor next to her crate with my hand on her paw, terrified that she might wake in a fit of confusion. I was terrified that I had gotten in to something that was far over my head… It turns out I had nothing to worry about, much to my chagrin.

All of the concerns I carried about caring for a deaf dog have gone by the wayside. To tell you the truth, I think she’s even better behaved than my own two dogs!

She loves affection, and especially loves older children. She walks very well on a leash, and has the best doggie manners I have ever seen! She calmly lays down as new dogs come to approach her, but maintains a very confident, collected demeanor. Once she has made friends she plays just as you would expect any other puppy to play, and is prone to the same boughs of “puppy flop-syndrome”, in which any surface becomes comfortable enough to sleep on.

Already she has picked up on a few new hand signals I have taught her, along with implementing some flashlight training. For those who think her deafness will impede upon her ability to learn, you’ll be comforted to know she picks up signals and commands at lightning speed. Though she still has far to go, and would benefit greatly for intensive training, she sits for her food, and she sits for affection, which is a great start.
She crates with the utmost ease, and her potty training is progressing very well. Thus far she has displayed some signs of anxiety, but I have since purchased her a thundershirt, and already I have seen improvements in areas that she formerly presented nervous behavior.

Showing off her flashy new Thundershirt!

As with my other fosters, Knish will accompany me to work where she will have the opportunity to socialize with many other dogs, people, sights and smells, and I will update more often as her training progresses!

Knish is roughly 35lbs and five months old, spayed, and up to date on her vaccinations. i do not estimate her getting any larger than 45lbs, and because of her hearing impairment she would be best suited for a family that has a yard, or fenced-in enclosure where she can roam freely without placing herself in harm’s way.


September 10th Update:

After some consideration and second opinions, it seems to be the Knish is only partially sighted. Not completely blind, she still have some range of vision, but it is slightly lessened in her right eye. This is only noticeable in instances where she is in an unfamiliar area. I have been directing most of her commands from the left, and have been using a small flashlight to train her, in replace of a clicker, which she has been picking up on wonderfully!

She has a thundershirt which she wears somewhat begrudgingly (I don’t think she’s a fan of pink, personally) and I have seen much improvement in her confidence concerning new, or alarming things. Trips to the dog park with her are a hoot–she runs so fast, she’s like lightning, zipping and zagging all over the turf. Other dogs take to her very well; she has a very easy-going presence to her while in the mix with other dogs. This is very good news for anyone looking for another companion to add to their pack, but it’s especially good news for Knish! Deaf dogs tend to bond with, and very quickly pick up on the routine and actions of other household pets, and I feel Knish would greatly benefit from having an older,  more experienced sibling to show her the ropes.

A quick shot from one of our training sessions. "Just gimme the treat, Khaz!"

She’s a puppy, so it’s a no-brainer that she is very food-motivated. She has not quite locked on to the concept of returning toys yet, but she’s starting to get the picture (it’s only taken three days of making a fool of myself). Now, although she loves to romp and play, truly there is nothing she loves more than to CUDDLE. She loves to siddle up next to you and sleep, or lay in your lap. She takes such great comfort in being near people, it’s amazing to see her go from puppy supercharge to a calm, collected couch-potato in a matter of minutes.

All things Knish aside, I can safely say she is not the only one learning new things. Having her in the house has been a real learning opportunity for me, and sometimes, I think it’s not she that is being trained, but me!

Foster Update: 9/14/2011

When we first got Knish, were told she liked to chew–what puppy doesn’t?
Thinking I’d win some doggie brownie points, I stocked up on the chewy goodness a puppy could dream of! I even bought her a deer antler–my own dogs love ’em!  So imagine my chagrin when she just stared at these puppy wonders, like she was asking me why on earth I had suddenly showered her with useless things! A puppy who snubbed her nose at toys? CHEW toys? I couldn’t believe it.

Knish & Khaz

Thankfully, those days are slowly being put behind us! After a few play sessions with other dogs, and myself, Knish is learning the joy of playing on her own! I consider this a puppyhood rite of passage for her; she has been the first foster I’ve had that hasn’t cared a single bit about the seemingly hundreds of tennis balls in my home. Now she’s content to throw the ball for herself, sometimes enjoying it so much that she’d rather play than eat! (And come on, what puppy doesn’t love to eat?)

Her crate training, too, is going very well! She still whines a little when placed in her crate, but then she remembers how much she likes it in there! She sleeps solidly through the night, and on some days  even likes to sleep in even though she is free to roam the apartment. Video of her training progression to come soon! Won’t someone consider this smart, loving girl?


Could you be the perfect family for me?

If you, or anyone you know is interested in adopting Knish, please review our Adoption Process. While you’re at it, be sure to check out her extensive photo album over on our Facebook fanpage!


Please direct all questions and inquiries to






7 thoughts on “Knish, the Catahoula/Aussie~Adopted

  1. Hii I’m Z, one of your sites resident stalkers XD someday soon someone to adopt one of your wonderful dogs!
    Just trying to clear something up. Does Knish need to be re homed or something?

    Lol I got a bit confused when I saw her back up on the “available” dogs list. I seem to remember her from last year. And checking over the comment dates she was adopted in October 2011?

    I’m not seeing any updated information scrolling her page even though she’s on the available list with a date saying she was taken in today. Hope nothing happened 🙁

    1. HI Z
      Check out Dog Liberator’s facebook page. It will explain why Knish ‘is’ up for adoption again. I too was interested in her in the beginning, but not ready to get a new dog. We did however eventually adopt Flynn (Sundance) …best decision we ever made.

  2. Knish,

    What a blessing !!! She is just a special pup….we will keep you posted on her progress…Frisbee and swimming “training” are now underway, the Olympics are coming up soon you know…..

  3. Hi, I am a volunteer/foster parents to a Blind/Deaf Aussie girl named Nala from the Miami Dade Animal Services. She needs a forever home.

    Would you be able to help me out?

    Thank you.

    Brenda and David Lillard

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