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Deaf Dog Finds a Home with Deaf Woman

By Megan Johnson
summarized by Joelle Chasse, staff writer

According to the Central Nebraska Humane Society, dogs that are older or disabled have a much harder time finding forever homes. Rosie, a three-year-old pit bull, has faced unique challenges in the shelter due to her age and the fact that she is deaf.

“You can get most dogs’ attention by saying their name or making a sound, but she can’t respond to that because she is deaf,” states Tracie Pfeifle, a volunteer at the shelter.

Since January, Pfeifle has paid special attention to Rosie and has been teaching her sign language. “We started using treats and putting the treat up to your face and saying ‘good girl’ with your thumb up and then she figured out that we were communicating with her,” Pfeifle explains.

Rosie has learned several signed commands, including sit, down, stay, outside, and walk—knowledge that has improved Rosie’s quality of life.

“It was just amazing to watch her blossom into a dog,” says Pfeifle. “I don’t think she knew how to be a dog.”

Rosie’s mode of communication made her a perfect candidate for Cindy Koch, who says she has always wanted a deaf dog. Being deaf herself, Koch feels a deeper level of understanding with Rosie and the struggles the dog has faced. Koch and her family already know sign language and plan to teach Rosie more. “She’s a smart dog, she can pick up fast,” Koch says.

For Rosie, this is a best case scenario. “It’s what I hoped would eventually happen, she couldn’t have gone to a nicer family,” says Pfeifle.

There is another deaf pit bull at the shelter that volunteers are currently working with—they hope that he will be as lucky as Rosie was.

Read the full story here.

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