The last time I was at the dog park Duke and I met up with a lovely white dog with a vibrating collar. A deaf dog. She was about the sweetest little gal you’ve ever met in your entire life. Me being a Hard of Hearing human, I was instantly fascinated by Ginger and her owner showed me the signs she knew and responds to. Down. Up. Shake hands. I signed ASL to her and she tried to figure me out.
I got to wondering what, besides age, causes deafness in dogs. Pink skin and white hair in the critical area where hair fibers receive vibrations in the inner ear are apparently the issue. The white hair dies during infancy and the dog is either deaf in one or both ears.
Despite the fact the AKC and most vets recommend putting deaf dogs down, it would never occur to me to kill a dog because of a hearing loss. Maybe it is because I have significant hearing loss and still live a full life. And most dogs, if they live long enough, end up with fading hearing and/or eyesight and still enjoy a comfy end of life.
I got to thinking about Stray Kitty (whom I refer to as “Lucky” since Rumpydog rescued her) and what Rumpy would think of Deaf Dogs or cats, for that matter. “Lucky,” by the way, is in mid-Tennessee and looking for a home. This is the season of miracles – light, birth, and returns – for many and perhaps her miracle is just waiting to happen, eh?
I admit that when I get my next dog s/he will be fully hearing since I’m considering a Hearing Dog for the hearing impaired. However, I’m thrilled to note that all the organizations providing such dogs do so through rescue or animal shelters.