In December 2010 my husband (then fiance) and I moved into a big coach house together, with my dog Piper. I rescued her from a shelter 5 years ago when she was 1. Right away we talked about adopting a little buddy for her, and I was convinced I wanted a wire haired, scruffy, small, black rescue mutt. We visited PAWS, and Anti-Cruelty (where I got Piper), but we didn’t seem to make any connections. We then decided to hold off and wait until Spring. Then one day, not long after, I got the itch to visit the city pound… the saddest place in Chicago. I wouldn’t tell my husband Justin where we were going, and when we pulled up he was mad, and convinced I had a dog already picked out from the website. But I didn’t. I just felt this dire need to go that day.

We went in, and started wandering the sad, dirty cages. So many dogs crying and angry. We took one little guy outside for a walk, but he just wasn’t the one.

Then we passed “Desi”. Desi was laying in his cage, head on his paws…totally oblivious to the noise around him. We checked his tag and it said he was a special needs dog. That he was “hard of hearing”. They found him on the street at 7 months old, and had been in the pound for about 3. We took him to an indoor play pen to play. Right away he wanted to snuggle and give kisses and was so gentle when other dogs passed by. Within in minutes, we were in love. So here I am, facing this deaf, white, pitty mix…the opposite of everything I thought I wanted. The next day (in a blizzard) Justin went back to adopt him. He took him for his first bath, and they were forever imprinted on one another. I’ve never seen such a stong boy-and-his-dog bond. As much as I’m Piper’s girl…Justin is Defcon’s boy.

Piper was not sold on this new roommate immediately. Ha. They have quite the big sister/little brother relationship, but it’s very apparent when other dogs come around that she would protect him with her life.

Life with a deaf 10 month old puppy wasn’t easy at first. In fact, it was quite a struggle. We doubted ourselves for a minute, and thought he might be better off with a family who has experience with deaf dogs. But slowly, slowly, we learned more and more American Sign Language. Slowly, so did Defcon. He went from a starved 25 pounds (with worms), to a strong, healthy 45 pounds full grown. He went from being snow white with spotted ears, to having more spots than we can count. We can only imagine what mix of breeds he is.

He has the eternal baby face, and is such a curious, hilarious little guy. He always knows where we are in the house, and will pop up out of a deep sleep to make sure we’re still there. He found his voice, and sees that when he makes this sound (vibration for him) we react. At the dog park he knows no pecking order, and within minutes has every dog there running and playing with him. He is the happiest creature I have ever known. Our hearts burst with love for him, and we cannot imagine that we ever thought he would be better off in someone else’s home. He is home, and has made our lives infinitely better. We have promised ourselves that we will always and forever rescue a deaf dog. For as much as we have taught him…he has taught us way more.

Love to you, Defcon and Piper,

Sara Jean and Justin

This beautiful Happy Tail was submitted by Sara Jean Stevens. Sara according to my deaf dog Nitro you and Justin totally ROCK!

Here is a video of Defcon the Turkey Dog just in time for Thanksgiving! LOL!