Deciding to adopt Azule was a decision that was not made quickly. Adding a deaf dog to a pack that had two blind dogs (Breeze, who is blind, was adopted just a few months ago) was a big decision. Knowing about blind dogs and being comfortable with them made adding a deaf dog seem that much more of a challenge.
After reading lots of articles, training tips and just thinking about how to live with a deaf dog, contact was made with the Humane Society in West Virginia where Azule was. (She was listed on Petfinder as special needs) Then, it was off to meet her after a long drive and a night in a hotel.
|Being good dogs in the hotel.
You may notice that Callie is not in this photo. Due to her bossy/dominant attitude she went to a boarding facility where they said she was an amazing, wonderful and well-behaved dog! It's less stressful for everyone since we were in close quarters for a couple of days with little play time.
Since Azule was a stray, nothing was known about her background, not even the fact that she was deaf. The staff discovered she was deaf when she didn't react to all the dogs barking in the morning. Actually, they thought she was dead. Fortunately she was fine, she just had her back to the kennel door, but what a scary moment that must have been!
At the shelter, Azule quickly became a staff favourite, especially with "Aunt M" who spoiled her. I did promise that when Azule moved to our home she would continue to be spoiled as all the pack is!
Azule is an absolute sweetheart of a dog who loves to cuddle and rest her head on whoever is closest, human or animal. There are not many times that her lack of hearing is obvious. She is very attentive to her surroundings and will watch the other dogs for clues, especially out in the yard. If they are responding to a whistle to come in, she will look at them, then to the door and receive a hand signal to come in.
Out in the wilderness, Azule uses two leads for about 40 feet of leash. This allows her the freedom to wander and run along with the others who are often off leash. All the dogs are allowed off leash in safe areas since their recall is fantastic and done throughout the hike. As she does at home, Azule pays close attention, watching for hand signals and also watching the other dogs.
Azule is just a normal dog. She does all the silly things that any dog will do. She gets into things that she shouldn't, she doesn't always do what she is told (that's some Cattle Dog attitude there!) By looking away, Azule cannot "hear" what she is being told. A touch on her shoulder gets her to look and often there is a look of, "Who, me? What?"
A few weeks ago we went camping (Shenandoah National Park) and this was what Azule got up to.
At home, Azule has never shown any interest in the table, the counter, nothing like that. Why at the campsite? Who knows! When given a hand signal to get down (a finger pointed at her then where she was to go) she very casually jumped down as if to say, "No big deal. I was done anyways."