Deaf Dog Awareness Week: How a deaf dog changed my life.
Deaf dog awareness week began on Sunday, September 24th.
The idea behind this week is to highlight deaf dogs and show that they can make wonderful pets!
5 years ago, I had no idea this week even existed. Now, every day of my life is dedicated to deaf dog awareness, thanks to the amazing little dog that has changed my life.
In July of 2013, a deaf puppy joined my family. I had no idea at the time, but she was going to my life, and the life of many others.
Keller was taken from her breeder at 5 weeks old by two local Lancaster women. She was facing death because of her disabilities.
Keller was born deaf, which was pretty obvious to this heartless person. Her eyes were not normal either, but it was uncertain whether or not she could see.
5 weeks old and facing the threat of being shot. What a life!
These two local angels got word of this and took the puppy from this terrible person. Neither of them could keep her because of their own families and pets, but they couldn’t stand the thought of an innocent puppy being killed.
For some reason, they took a chance on me and this beautiful baby joined our family.
I had never had a deaf dog, much less a deaf dog with questionable vision. I was scared going in. I was overwhelmed. I wanted to do what was best for this puppy and I wanted her to live a happy and fulfilled life.
I turned to the internet where I did find much help. Most of the things I read were discouraging. I could never let my puppy off leash. She could startle and bite me. She couldn’t do all the things that my other dog did.
We celebrated our first deaf dog awareness week about two months after Keller joined the family. I still wasn’t too confident in what I was doing, but hey, she learned how to sit and come so I felt accomplished.
Time went on, I joined some Facebook groups and I found the wonderful community of deaf dogs rock. I started to feel better about my choice in taking in this puppy.
There we a lot of people confused about why I would want such a dog, but I did my best to ignore them and just have fun with my dogs.
So here I was with this teenager puppy. She had some basic commands because that seemed to be all I could find on the internet at the time. Nothing I read really gave me confidence that we could do much.
I had been doing agility with my other dog, Kai, and I had what I thought was a crazy idea. One day in class, I asked our instructor if I could put Keller in the beginner class. I remember her being slightly hesitant as she had never had a deaf dog in class before, but she told me to give it a try.
I was shocked at how quickly my puppy understood what to do. It gave me confidence in her and her abilities. If this deaf puppy could do agility, what else could she do?
I quickly started treating Keller in a more “normal” way. She was just a dog after all, right?
We started working on thing off leash, something I had initially been told I could never do. She started swimming, hiking, excelling in her agility class, and learning more and more hand signals. We went from just knowing a few basic commands, to knowing tricks and doing agility.
I was so amazed at what my dog was able to do based on the negative things I had read over and over again.
By the time Keller was a year and half, we had learned so much. I was so proud of her and myself for where we had gotten. I wanted people to see how capable was she was. I wanted people to see my dog and think, “wow I should try that with my dog.”
So I made her a Facebook page. My hopes were that I could reach more people and show them that a dog with special needs was in fact normal.
We made a few educational posts about her and the breeding practice that created her disabilities and her page took off! We had people messaging us and asking us for advice about their own deaf/blind dogs, sharing their stories, and telling us how much we had helped.
I felt like I found my purpose. I loved having Keller by my side to show people what a dog with special needs could do. She was so happy to do anything I asked!
I needed to do more. I needed to help more people, teach more people, and aid more dogs.
So with the help of my amazing friend, we started Keller’s Cause.
We became a 501c3 with the goal of educating on responsible breeding and advocating for special needs dogs.
With Keller’s Cause we are able to reach so many more people. We travel around the country teaching people about special needs dogs. We educate on their capabilities and do demonstrations so people can see them.
We recently started rescuing dogs as well.
All of this came to be just from a little deaf puppy.
This year, think of Keller during deaf dog awareness week.
Think of all the dogs like her that don’t make it out, the dogs that don’t get to feel love, that don’t get to know what it’s like to be pet, that don’t get a chance.
This year for deaf dog awareness week help out by doing one of the following:
Donate to a rescue who helps deaf dogs (like Keller’s Cause!)
Share an adoptable dog. Sharing dogs that are up for adoption helps them find a home!
Share our story, Facebook posts, and videos. When people see deaf dogs just being dogs, they’re amazed and inspired!
Remember as you celebrate this upcoming week that disabilities are only what you make them!
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