The Central Nebraska Humane Society took a chance on a new program to teach deaf dogs sign language so they could communicate with their owners once they were adopted. Their first student was a 4 year-old Boxer-Pit bull mix named Rosie. This week the shelter’s program paid off when Rosie was adopted by a woman who is also deaf.
The idea of teaching dogs sign language came about after the group took in two deaf dogs: Rosie and a 9 month-old Pit bull mix named Noah. Volunteer Tracie Pfeifle agreed to work with the dogs. She learned how to sign the commands sit, stay and come, from the American Sign Language book and then made some modifications so she could communicate with the dogs using only one hand. That way, she could hold a leash in her other hand.
Rosie had been very withdrawn until she realized that Tracie was trying to talk to her. After that, the dog’s whole personality lit up. The first sign Rosie learned was “thumbs up” for good girl.
News about Rosie caught the attention Cindy Koch, who is also deaf. Earlier this week she met Rosie and it was love at first “sign.” Cindy plans to teach Rosie more sign language once she is settled in her new home.
More stories about amazing pets from Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog: Cupid’s Tale