In honor of National Deaf Pet Awareness week, the Dumb Friends League is celebrating some special pets that found their second chance at a new life when they arrived at our shelter. Just like any other pet, deaf animals can live long, fulfilling lives. They may require a little additional care, but animals have an uncanny ability to adapt. So much so that it may not be initially obvious special need – such as deafness, right away.
Sure, there are special training techniques and precautions you need to take as an owner of a deaf pet, like teaching them hand signals, or using light (like a flashlight) to assist with their training. Deaf pets should always be leashed and kept confined in a fenced in area when they aren’t on a leash. We also recommend that they have tags identifying their special need should they find themselves lost from their person.
Adopting that special pet
On average the Dumb Friends League sees around 60 pets enter our shelter each day. As you can imagine these pets come in all shapes, sizes, colors and some with special needs – including deafness. Here are a few of these such pets, who just like any other animal that enters our shelters, were looking for their second chance at finding that new home – they just needed a little extra care.
Angel arrived at the Dumb Friends League in July after her owner was no longer able to care for her. They explained that Angel was, well, an Angel. She had lived well with other dogs, was housebroken, had free roam of the house and was playful. It was at this time that the owner also disclosed that Angel was deaf, in both ears. They had worked with her on hand signals, and she already knew some basic commands. Angel was placed in a foster home where her foster parent continued her training on hand signals and tried different methods to get her attention – treats worked the best; this little lady loves her food! While in her foster home Angel learned a lot not only from her compassionate foster parent but also from the resident dog, Tug. After spending time with this foster family, a special home was found for Angel, and she is now settling into her new digs, continuing to learn, love and play.
Earlier this year, in January another special dog found his way to our Quebec Street Shelter in Denver. Patch, now Fjord was also an owner surrender. Upon arriving at the shelter this young pup was scared and unresponsive to staff. After examining Fjord it was discovered that he was likely deaf and our behavior specialists were able to start the process of working with him to gain his trust and make him feel safe. Fjord was adopted into his new home in February and has since moved with his person to Tucson where his owner reports his anxiety and fear has vastly improved. They are working together to learn hand signals and continuing to build a loving and long relationship together. Fjord is her first deaf dog, and other than needing to keep him on a leash at all times experimenting with different techniques to get his attention there isn’t anything different about him from her previous pets.
From pet adoption to a lifelong relationship
As always, the Dumb Friends League is available should you need any pet behavior help regarding your deaf pet – or any pet for that matter. Regardless if they were adopted from the League or not we have resources should you have any questions. Visit ddfl.org and check out our extensive resource of behavior hand-outs. Can’t find what you need there? Give us a buzz on the behavior helpline. One of our knowledgeable behavior specialists can help answer your questions and provide you with guidance.
Looking to adopt a pet? Visit ddfl.org and browse through adoptable dogs, cats, and horses. All adoptions include spay/neuter surgery, appropriate vaccinations – including rabies and a follow-up veterinary visit at a participating veterinarian (for cats and dogs).
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