This is the story of the little white deaf boxer puppy who was dumped at a river in Salem, VA. This story not only has a happy ending but because of Nitro many more deaf dogs throughout our country have happy endings just like Nitro. You see Nitro is the inspiration and CED (Chief Executive Dog) at DeafDogsRock.com. Because of this National website, deaf dogs all over America are finding loving forever homes. Here is the story of Nitro.
(Photos above: The top photo is the first photo the City of Salem Animal Shelter took of the little deaf puppy. The photo below the top photo is Nitro his first week here at Bluebird Farm. As you can see from the second photo Nitro was emaciated when he was found because this photo was taken 2 weeks after he had been discovered at the river)
Nitro’s Story by Christina Lee – Founder of DeafDogsRock.com
My name is Christina Lee and this is the story about my deaf dog Nitro. He was found down by the river on Front Street in Salem Virginia in November 2010 by a City of Salem Animal Control officer. He was taken to the Salem Animal Shelter where they discovered this 10 week old pup was completely deaf. I go by the Salem Animal Shelter often to take photos of the pups up for adoption to list them on Facebook and when I spoke to my friend Rebecca Hall (she is the City of Salem Salem Animal Shelter Director) and told her I was coming by to take some photos that week she said she had something she wanted to show me. I was thinking she must have a new litter of puppies she wants me to photograph but no, she had a different kind of surprise in mind. When I got to the shelter that cold winter’s day in November, she showed me a very thin little white boxer that was 100% deaf. She asked me if there is anyway my husband Chris and I could adopt this dog.
You see Rebecca and I had become friends through our love of horses and she had been out to my farm and knew I had secure 6 foot tall dog fencing (and a big yard in the back of my house and white picket fencing in the front yard). My farm is called Bluebird Farm and Rebecca knew this would be the best place for a deaf dog to grow up. There was one problem though, I already had three dogs and three horses and didn’t know anything about training a special needs dog who could not hear. I told her I would think about it and get back to her. I went home that evening and told my husband Chris the story of the poor little skinny white deaf boxer and I showed him a photo of the pup. He just looked an me and said go ahead and call her and lets get to Petsmart and go buy supplies and a deaf dog tag. Now who does that? Who just looks at a photo of a funny looking, pitiful little white dog who happens to be deaf and just jumps right in? My sweet husband (and huge dog lover) does, that’s who!
So I made the call and all you could hear on the other end of the phone was all the girls who work at the shelter in the background all screaming with joy. We made their day with the happy news. They were so afraid someone would walk in the shelter, adopt this deaf dog and the dog would be dead in a matter of months. The pup would only have to get out of someone’s house only once in the city to be hit by a car because he could not hear. That night Chris and I went to Petsmart and purchased a crate, food, toys, a dog halter and leash and we had a special dog tag made with the name Nitro on it and under his name was (DEAF DOG). We wanted to be prepared the minute we picked up our special new puppy.
After or Petsmart shopping spree for our new puppy we headed home and stayed up until 1:00am reading and watching videos on deaf dog training. We both wanted to be fully prepared for what would be the best way to train our new “special needs” puppy. What we discovered in doing research about deaf dogs isthere is not a whole lot of resources out there for new owners of deaf dogs. We watched one particular video over and over again to get some of the American Sign Language (ASL) training signs commands memorized. We decided we would use American Sign Language on Nitro. Chris and I made the commitment to at least learn some of the basics of ASL.
Below are photos from the morning we went to pick Nitro up at the City of Salem Animal Shelter.
(Nitro’s first day here on Bluebird Farm. He made fast friends with our 10 pound dog Tallulah. Here is a photo of them stalking each other which is their favorite game to play)
The next morning we went to pick Nitro up from the Animal Shelter and we also made an appointment to have Nitro microchipped right away just in case he got loose. We then drove home and did the first introductions to our other three dogs. They were out playing in the back yard within the first hour of being introduce. Our senior dog Lexi didn’t really want anything to do with a new puppy. Little Miss Lexi still to this day barely puts up with Nitro’s silly antics.
Below is a photo of our little boy in his new blue sweater and his new blue ID tag. He was so skinny and had very thin hair so he had to wear his blue sweater all the time. I enjoyed taking photos of Nitro! Check out his “big dog shadow” in this photo. It’s like he is saying, “I may have had a bad start in my life but just you wait and see, I’m going to be a big important dog someday.”
Getting a deaf dog out in public is crucial for building a good foundation for the deaf dog. Here is Nitro, Chris and I at Dogtoberfest a dog festival.
Chris and I tried to get Nitro out in public every single day so he would pass his AKC Canine Good Citizen test with flying colors. He passed his AKC CGC Test at 10 months old and started the Delta Therapy Pet Partners training class at 12 months old. Below is a photo of Nitro training at a local store.
Nitro is an Ambassador for deaf dogs everywhere. He is truely an inspiration by showing the world that with love, commitment to training and communication along with having a good support system in place, deaf dogs can become amazing dogs. We have met deaf dog owners all of the world and they tell us every single day how much their deaf dogs mean to them. If you have ever considered adopting a deaf dog, I highly recommend it but only if you are committed to a dedicated training schedule to build a strong foundation for your deaf dog.
(Photo by: Don Peterson – Nitro with his human daddy Chris Lee)
If you accept the challenge of giving a deaf dog a forever home, you will need patience, imagination, perseverance, understanding, education, love, and sometimes some unusual training tools. In return you will be rewarded with a wonderful, and loving companion.
Nitro and I hope you enjoy our new website “Deaf Dogs Rock” and invite you to share this site with your friends. Our goal here it to educate the general public about deaf dogs, be a resource to deaf dog owners, and help find forever homes for deaf dogs in need.
(Photo of Nitro and I taken by Kristin Guffey)
Welcome to Deaf Dogs Rock!
Nitro and Christina
Some updated additional photos of Nitro taken this year in 2012
(Nitro with his best friends at the Dog Park – from L to R – Loki, Ozzy and Nitro)
2013 Photos in the snow
Above: Nitro in the snow.
Below: Nitro playing with his new deaf brother Bud – We welcomed Bud into our family at the end of 2012.