Bringing Awareness to Special Needs Pets

Here at the Animal Rescue League our staff have all sorts of pets and among them is a deaf dog named Tippy. What better time to share her story with you than during Deaf Pet Awareness Week? Read on to learn about Tippy.

Tippy1

Tippy

A little over 8 years ago, Maryann Regan, director of shelter operations at the ARL, was managing the animal intake office of our Boston adoption center when a local animal control officer brought in an extremely wiggly and happy white dog.

The officer explained that the municipal shelter had no room and wanted to know if we had kennel space to house this stray dog. “Almost the moment the officer handed the leash over to me,” says Maryann, “this dog was tugging at my heart strings.  She immediately began to give me kisses and her wiggles were out of control- she seemed like a very happy, sweet girl!”

Maryann found herself spending extra time with her, –going for long walks, giving her extra play time in the play yard, and sharing a few extra treats. Something told her that this dog was meant for her family.

“I introduced her to my husband and it was love at first site. We decided, after her medical exam and behavior evaluation, we would adopt her as long as she and the other family members got along.  The other family members are two senior cats that also have a very special place in our hearts.”

During her behavior evaluation, the wiggly white dog performed true to form–high energy, playful, happy, and sweet!

As affectionate and people-oriented as she behaved, however, she also tended to ignore us when we called for her.

Maryann explains: “It wasn’t consistent with what she was typically displaying in her personality because she was usually very concerned or interested in being near every person she met.  She loved people!  Then, why was she ignoring us?”

The pre-adoption medical evaluation identified the issue: this dog was deaf.

“It’s not uncommon for white animals to be deaf.  This dog was all white, with the exception of a few, adorable black dots here and there bounced around on her body,” says Maryann.  “All the times we called for her attention that she did not respond to was not her ignoring us, she simply couldn’t hear us.”

Neither Maryann or her husband had experience with a deaf dog, but Maryann felt confident that they could educate themselves on how to handle her appropriately.  “I had such a strong bond with this dog, I had no reservations about doing all the homework necessary to make this a successful adoption for us, the cats and for her.”

So, if you’re considering adding a pet to your family, don’t overlook deaf pets in your search.

To learn more about Deaf Pet Awareness Week visit trupanion.com/deaf-pets.

09-24-14 trupanion deaf pets