So, our latest addition to the family, the adorable puppy I mentioned in my last post, is utterly and completely deaf. How do we know? Among many other tests designed to give off as little vibration as possible, we smashed the metal bottoms of two chafing dishes together over her head while she was sleeping and she didn’t even stir. Now I know why she barely ever barks. In honor of this unexpected wrench, today’s post is about due diligence, disclosure, and determination.
Sending Shanti back to the rescue wasn’t really an option. Deafness, though not ideal for a first-time family puppy, isn’t a deal-breaker in our books. In fact, I’m finding it kind of amazing to push beyond my voice to train this pup, and I think she’s teaching me to access parts of my senses that could really use a work out. My initial response, upon learning that our dog can’t hear, was to be really annoyed by the rescue organization that we adopted her from.
Nekky called them to share our discovery and to ask for a reimbursement of enough of the adoption fee to cover the cost of a vibrating collar. To be clear, this isn’t a shock collar, it’s a collar that vibrates (like a cell phone) to grab the dog’s attention. Kind of a must-have in our circumstances. I was beyond satisfied when the contact at the rescue agreed to refund half the adoption fee and issue a tax receipt for the remaining half. She also said she would alert the other families who adopted Shanti’s sisters, in case the deafness was something they brought to the party too.
I couldn’t understand how the vet check the rescue claimed to have conducted (we got a receipt from this vet, and I wondered if it was real) could miss something so major. It seemed like a basic thing to check for. My own vet, our next-door neighbor, assured me it could be a very easy mistake, especially if the vet had all three puppies at once. We missed it ourselves, as the sleepiness of our puppy and the adorable chaos of her sister and the toddler at the foster home made things a bit distracting.
Would we have chosen this particular dog if we knew she was deaf? No way. I will freely admit to wanting our first puppy to be as simple as possible. I’m going to believe the rescue org when they say they had no idea that our dog was deaf, because I think most responsible rescues would be up front about such a thing to ensure that the dog finds a suitable home. Days after picking her up, we are already in love with her, bonded with her, and invested in her. We didn’t want to teach the kids that an issue like deafness meant that the dog had to go. Blindness, maybe, because I don’t even know how you would train a blind dog, but deafness is a highly workable dog training scenario. Dogs smell, see, and then hear. People hear, see and then smell. So, despite this surprise, we carry on as planned. We have an awesome trainer who we will work with once Shanti has her next round of shots, and in the meanwhile I’m grateful for the epic amount of information available.
We’ve already taught her how to sit, and come. Now we just need to get those puppy teeth under control!
Have you had a deaf dog? Know anyone who has? We’d love any tips or tidbits from you.