With her floppy ears, black spots and one blue eye, you’d think Alice the springer spaniel would have no problem finding a home. However, the adorable pup was actually neglected and cast off by a breeder after it was discovered that she was born deaf.
The Blue Cross took her in, but was afraid that it would be hard to find her a “forever home” because of her special needs.
Fortunately, Marie Williams and her partner Mark Morgan saw Alice’s profile on the Blue Cross website. Williams and Morgan are both deaf, and they decided that Alice was meant to join their family.
Marie Williams told the Daily Mail that it was love at first sight when the family met the dog for the the first time:
“We were thinking about getting a dog but when we saw Alice was deaf we just couldn’t believe it. She was so beautiful and the fact that she was deaf just made us fall in love with her even more – we knew that she would fit right into our family. When we went to visit her at the centre I had tears in my eyes because she was so cute and we bonded straight away.”
Alice is lucky. According to the Deaf Dog Education Fund, thousands of dogs are destroyed each year because they cannot hear. Congenital deafness is common to many breeds, particularly breeds that have a lot of white on their coats. The problem is usually caused when puppies end up with un-pigmented skin on their inner ears. Many veterinarians and breeding associations recommend putting down deaf puppies as soon as their handicap is noticed.
However, that’s generally not necessary. Contrary to popular belief, deaf dogs can be trained. They may not be able to hear your voice, but with a little bit of extra time, they can be taught sign language. In fact, Alice has already learned three sign language commands: sit, come and roll over. Good girl!