Monday, February 8, 2010

Deaf Dog Dancing!

Most of  you know that I straddle the hearing and the deaf worlds due to my affinity to American Sign Language and individuals who use it as their language (or just dabble like so many!)  What you may not know is that our house is a bilingual home, including our dogs.  YEP!  Tess and Bingo were both trained as puppies in ASL.  They were both rescue pups and it made no sense to teach basic dog commands that used hand signals to them while the people in the home used ASL from time to time. (Even I thought the dogs would be confused, let alone me!).  So, we taught the dogs their commands using ASL which has made it fun for us and the many children who have tried out their "sign skills" on Bingo and Tess.

Well, as fate would have it our "younger" pup- Tess (White German Shepherd mix) became deaf around her third birthday after surgery.  We don't blame anyone and quite honestly she may have had minimal hearing all along (not uncommon for white dogs with light eyes to have a higher percentage of deafness among the dog world).  However, it didn't matter.  Tess knew all her commands in ASL and followed her hearing brother, Bingo, around everywhere- then and now.

So why did I title this blog, "Deaf Dog Dancing?"-  Well there is something quite magical seeing a dog who usually needs to be leashed or on a long zipline leash for her own safety being free of any restraints.  She was allowed this freedom due to natures own "fencing"- 3+ feet of snow.  She frolicked all over the yard, never leaving our sight and coming back to us with her tag wagging so fast I thought she would propel like a helicopter!   She was truly free in the silence we all experienced during the blizzard and shortly after.  She was a deaf dog dancing!!

Once again- some stories are best told in photos.  Enjoy!

                                           Children love to see if Bingo really knows sign language-
                                                   Lexy signing STAY to Bingo.  


Tess, frolicking in the backyard sans leash.  I think I see her smiling!! 



                        
                         Tess sitting patiently as her "daddy" signs EAT.  First the sign then.....

                                                
                                                                and then a yummy treat!


To learn more about deaf dogs and if you wish to adopt a deaf dog try these websites:

http://www.deafdogs.com/
http://www.deafk9.com/
http://www.deafdogs.org/adoption/
http://www.deafdogs.org/
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