Rosie the pit bull had a rough start in life. First of all, she was born deaf. She was also born a pit bull, a breed of dog that all too often gets poor treatment and a bad rap in the United States. At three years old, she ended up homeless at the Central Nebraska Humane Society.
That’s where Rosie’s luck started to change for the better. Shelter volunteer Tracie Pfeifle realized that Rosie could not hear, and that her disability was limiting her ability to interact with her human caretakers. So, she began teaching her a few simple signs in American sign language.
Pfeifle told local news station KCTV:
“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 how, that we were communicating with her…It was just amazing to watch her just blossom into a dog, I don’t think she knew how to be a dog.”
Even better, after three months in the shelter, Rosie went home with a new owner. Cindy Koch, who is also deaf, adopted her. Koch plans to teach Rosie more sign language, she told KCTV:
“Because I’m deaf and we want to relate to her, and understand how she feels – want to communicate with her through signing, teach her signing…I’m going to teach her my sign language, how deaf people communicate, she’s a smart dog, she can pick up fast,” Koch said.
Dogs with special needs often have a more difficult time finding homes. If there isn’t a no-kill shelter or rescue program available, that means they are more likely to be put down. Fortunately, there are organizations in the both US and the UK who focus on finding homes for deaf dogs.
In the US:
In the UK:
Deaf Dog Network