Briana Wedel is a friend of mine from my hometown in Minnesota. She has since moved to Texas but we keep in touch mainly through our posts about Pitbulls. Being in Texas Brianna sees and is involved in a very different world of animal rescue. The shelters are often bursting at the seams, spay/neuter programs are nothing like they are here in MN, and Pitbulls often don’t make it out of shelters. I asked her if she’d ever like to write for my blog and she took me up on it! She recently rescued a deaf dog and I’m so happy that she is sharing her story. Deaf dogs are so wonderful and need all the promotion they can get!
My name is Briana Wedel and I’m here to share about deaf dogs. To start it all off I grew up in Minnesota around my aunt’s pit bull mixes and American Staffordshire Terriers. As kids my three older siblings and I loved going to my aunt’s home for visits because she always had anywhere from three to six dogs at any given point. It was so much fun, and that was when my love for this group and breed of dogs began.
Although I always wanted a dog throughout my college years, I waited until the time was right. I moved to Texas after college and started fostering cats for Animal Allies of Texas. Eventually, I found and adopted my first rescue dog through Animal Allies, when a pregnant AmStaff came into our rescue and later birthed twelve puppies, one of those being my Griffey.
My fiancé and I had Griffey for about a year when we were on vacation out of the country and a friend had shared a photo on Facebook of a deaf dog named King. He was at a shelter outside of Dallas. King’s scenario made me sensitive to his situation because he had a striking resemblance in markings and color to our Griffey. Not only that, King was labeled as “code red”. This means once the shelter fills to capacity, he can and will be euthanized at any point. His code red status was due to how long he’d been at the shelter, which was most likely influenced by his being deaf and being a pit bull. Luckily for me, it didn’t take too much arm-twisting to get my fiancé on board with a second dog in our apartment.
Multiple people helped me extract King that very day from the shelter even though we were out of country! Then another friend provided a temporarily foster home until we got back into the US (about five days later). We picked him and Griffey up the same day upon our arrival, we did their introductions, etc. I decided I needed to equip myself with some knowledge on how to be a deaf-dog owner. I got some helpful links and learning tools from another deaf dog owner, and became a fan of Deaf Dogs Rock (Facebook). We added King to our family in September of 2014 and the last eight months have been marvelous.
King and Griffey bonded immediately. I never knew I could find such a perfect pair of adult dogs. King is mellow, gentle and attached, Griffey is the complete opposite, but they balance each other out superbly. Training King has been “normal” considering his being deaf. We use treats and positive reinforcement when working on fun tricks and we completed his training on how to sit and lay down, which he already partially knew. Now he knows shake, good boy, and no-no, also!
The most common question that people ask me is ‘How do you get his attention?’ It’s not often that King is not nearby one of us, maybe this is why they often call deaf dogs “Velcro dogs”, because they like to be attached, but when it’s needed he does respond to floor vibrations and physical taps. We do not allow King to be off leash outside of fenced in areas, but I have read that vibration collars are very helpful, although shock-collars are not condoned. All in all, deaf dogs are not all that different. So, if you are looking for one of the best cuddle companions then adopt a deaf dog, you will not be disappointed.