Well, that's easy enough. The deaf dog is Pickles who is a four month old pit bull mixed breed dog that was rescued by Richmond Animal Care and Control. Pickles was found tied to a tree in someones back yard and was taken to the their kennel. And as you might have guessed, Pickles is deaf. How did we come to adopt a deaf dog? Well, it's kind of a long story.
In December 2009, we had to put our mastiff, Maddie, down. She was in really bad shape, she couldn't walk and for the last three weeks of her life, I carried her outside to go to the bathroom. One night, while carrying her out, I tripped and almost dropped her but she landed rough. When I picked her up, she bit me and that is when I knew she was in more pain than I had thought. We had tried alternative medicine (acupuncture, Chinese herbs etc) but nothing seemed like it was working. After some soul searching, I knew what I had to do. Maddie's normal bed was in the dining room and she really liked laying in "the way" but we brought her into the living room with us and lavished her more than usual with love and affection.
On Saturday, December 12, 2009 I had some friends come to the house and we played with Maddie all day until the vet arrived. Just after 2:30pm, Maddie slipped quietly to sleep surrounded by family and friends. There was no more pain, no more yelping and she was at peace. I, on the other hand, was inconsolable. I couldn't drink enough that day to make the hurt go away and I couldn't drink enough the next day to make me forget the day before. I didn't think I would ever want another dog and for a long time, I didn't. Maddie is the canine love of my life and will never be replaced. I miss her to this day. She was our child.
Now, fast forward to September 2010. We began to look at www.petfinder.com for another dog. Nothing really seemed right until we found an Australian Sheppard mix at Richmond Animal Care and Control. Donna faxed an application to them and I went there the next day but we were third in line for her. Something strange though: we didn't like the name Animal Control gave her but couldn't think of another. A friend took me to the back to see the Sheppard but in the meantime, I saw Pickles. She was in the cage above the other and was sleeping in a room full of barking dogs. My friend (she knows who she is but I'm not putting her out there) said she was deaf and had been there for about a week. She told me of how deaf dogs don't really get adopted out because of their disability. I listened then went to work.
I called Donna and told her about Pickles and thought it might be nice to get both of them so the hearing dog could help out the other and she agreed. I emailed my friend to let her know. We didn't hear from Animal Control the next day so I went by after work and was told because we were third, we didn't get the Sheppard but my friend told the staff (not putting her out there, either) about us wanting Pickles so she just shifted our application. I played with Pickles for a bit and thought she was wonderful! I went home and we talked it over and decided Pickles was the one for us. The next day, Donna and I went to Animal Control and played with Pickles for a while and she was misbehaving a bit but really caught on fast when we diverted our attention from her and we could tell she was smart! Her eyes were bright, she was happy and there was no hint of the life that she was rescued from...it was like that part of her didn't exist. We were in love!
That night consisted of researching on how to train a deaf dog and the raw diet (thanks to Tom). The next day, we bought some things like a crate, toys, brush, shampoo and all natural treats and food (commercial dog food is full of grains, corn and other stuff that dogs just CANNOT digest and is not good for them). So now, our house is all ready for Pickles and we couldn't be happier!
But why did a deaf dog tug at my heartstrings so much? It's because of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer that comes on every Christmas. If you remember, there is the Island of Misfit Toys where the toys that no one wants go to live. Not too many people outside of my family know this but, at Christmas time, I buy broken Christmas ornaments just so they'll have a home for Christmas. I've done it for years and have quite a few broken Christmas ornaments hanging on the tree. Just things that no one else wants but deserve a good and loving home. That is why Pickles, the deaf dog, touched me.
Stay tuned for more on Pickles!