In honor of Deaf Dog Awareness Week, I figured I should share Blue’s story…
Once upon a time I worked at an animal shelter. I saw many animals come into the shelter and find wonderful homes… Until one very special little white puppy came through the doors.
We named him Blue for his beautiful blue eyes. But with his white fur and blue eyes came a genetic abnormality making him deaf. You see, his parents were a Blue Heeler and a blue merle Australian Shepherd… Both being of merle coloring cause the genetic “double merle” which can leave offspring deaf and/or blind with pink skin.
We were worried about him finding the right home, being deaf is hard enough but with his pink skin he was susceptible to skin cancer if left in the hot Texas sun. You see, a lot of people in Texas are strong believers in the “large dogs belong outside only” concept, which was not an option for this sensitive boy.
We wanted to get him started on training early to give him as much of a chance of finding a good home as possible. I worked with him, teaching him hand signals for sit, down and roll over… I would walk by his kennel and gently wake him up by putting my hand on his shoulder so he wouldn’t get scared… He was SO smart and willing to please and a little bit goofy.
He stayed at the shelter for weeks… And he stole my heart with his mellow and laid back personality (which was a surprise considering his high energy breeds). I somehow talked Jason into letting me take him home for a little one night “vacation” from the shelter…
We hung out on the couch and watched TV.
And we fell in love. But I knew Jason wouldn’t let me keep him… We had JUST started dating and I was inadvertently moving in with him… And he wasn’t a regular dog.. He was deaf. There was no way. But that face!
It came time to bring him back… And Jason sat me on the couch and said “he doesn’t have to leave today.” He stayed a second night. He stayed a third night. I was getting ready to bring him back when Jason sat me on the couch again and said “if you REALLY want to keep him you can.” I practically started crying right then and there. This precious little pup was MY very own pet… my very first pet that was all my own.
Having a deaf dog has completely changed my life, it hasn’t always been easy but it is SO worth it. In puppyhood he destroyed a few shoes, ate a part of a wall and destroyed a door like most puppies… But he is now 4 years old and 65 lbs and is the most mellow boy and very easy going. He may shed constantly, he isn’t the greatest “guard dog” and he is a little shy around new people, but he warms up quickly; But he is so incredibly smart and sweet. He knows over 15 hand signals, most of which he has picked up on his own! Now that he is out of destructive puppy phase, he now has the run of the house (doesn’t destroy a thing) and sleeps next to our bed every night. Sure, training him is a bit different, and a little more work that a hearing dog (you can’t just say “no” you have to show them no… which means you need their attention first), but all of the love and devotion he gives back, all of the times we cuddle on the couch, all of the times he makes me laugh, THAT makes it all worth it. He is my baby boy, my shadow, best furry friend and funniest of court jesters. I love him so much and wouldn’t trade him for the world.
Having a deaf dog has been SO rewarding, and I honestly don’t know if I could ever own a hearing dog after having a deaf dog. Blue has changed my life, and I will forever be grateful.
(Above picture courtesy of Sherry Hammonds Photography)
If you have any questions or concerns about adopting a deaf dog for yourself or would like some training advice feel free to contact me at Jillian@reshapeyourlifeblog.com.