When my beloved Buster Babe, a liver-spotted Dalmatian, passed away on June 29, 2006, I began my search to adopt a deaf Dalmatian. I had never even heard of such a thing as a Deaf Dog until I started to research the Dalmatian breed a little more. In my research I learned that 1 out of 4 Dalmatians are born totally or partially deaf. It has something to do with the combination of pink skin and white coat. I also learned that the Dalmatian Club of America, in their by-laws, require breeders to destroy any Dalmatians that are born deaf. They do this when these poor pups are only 5 weeks of age. That was the cruelest thing I had ever heard of! After reading that I was determined to save a life and adopt a deaf Dalmatian in my Buster’s memory.
Little did I know how difficult a task this would prove to be. I started by looking for local Dalmatian breeders. Everyone that I contacted gave me the same speech: deaf Dalmatians are put down as soon as they are detected, they are aggressive; they don’t make good pets; it’s in the by-laws to euthanize deaf puppies… Some breeders told me this politely, while others actually yelled at me for even thinking of adopting a deaf pup.
This was VERY discouraging but it did not stop me in my determination to adopt a deaf Dalmatian pup.
After a few weeks I finally found a breeder that was only a few miles away. She said that she would “consider” giving me a deaf pup if one appeared in their next litter. She kept me updated on the mom’s progress and when the pups were born she sent photos of the newborns. She also sent me photos as they grew and kept me updated. I was hoping there were not any deaf pups in the litter but if there was one I was hoping the breeder would follow through and let me adopt. After 4 weeks the breeder suspected she had not one but two deaf pups. So I said that I would be more than happy to adopt them both if that was the case. A week went by and she did not return my messages. Finally I heard back from her. Her message was short and said she “I DID have 1 deaf boy” but she “searched her soul” and could not let this pup have a chance at life even though a loving home had been offered. So she killed this puppy before she contacted me to confirm the presence of a deaf pup in the litter. I think she searched the Devil’s soul personally… Boy was I MAD!!! That pup had a chance at life and this lady decided to play God and killed the pup, even though it had a home ready and waiting.
This just made me even more determined to rescue a pup. I finally decided to look out of state since I was having no luck here in NY. Someone brought to my attention a posting on craigslist in Georgia about a 10-week-old deaf pup who needed a home. I contacted the breeder who was trying to do the right thing by finding this deaf boy a home. Her dogs were kept outside like livestock unfortunately, but she was at least giving him a shot a life. So I said that I’d take him if I could find a way to get him transported from Georgia to NY. It was at this point that I met my new friend Cathy, who lives in Georgia. She rescues deaf dogs and finds them homes. She was willing to help me by picking him up from the breeder, getting him his medical clearance to fly and getting him on a plane up to NY.
After what seemed forever, the day finally arrived when I was to meet my new baby. Cathy had sent me a couple photos so I could see what he looked like. He was just so handsome! I had already decided to name him Pirate Grayson Mack. Pirate because I love the name and because he has a black patch over one eye, Grayson because that is the name of the town in Georgia where he was born. When his flight arrived I was eagerly waiting in cargo to pick him up. He was covered in fleas and had ear mites due to the breeder’s housing conditions. But that was easily cleared up with a few meds from the vets.
Maybe this is coincidence or maybe not… but Pirate was born on the EXACT same day as that deaf boy that I was almost able to adopt from the local breeder, who was tragically and prematurely put down. Everyday that I look at Pirate I think about that poor pup. I never met him, but I loved him like my own. He had such a short life here, but he will be in my thoughts until the day I die.
Pirate is my first deaf dog and he certainly won’t be my last. He is the best! He sleeps curled up beside me and snuggled in under the bed covers. He can always bring a smile to my face and make me laugh. He now knows multiple hand signals and he keeps close tabs on his mommy at all times. He has earned the nickname “Monkey Boy” for many reasons… I think he is really a mountain goat in disguise actually. He jumps on top of my dining room table, and onto the kitchen table. He has hopped on top of the chest freezer. He climbs on top of the toilet and then onto the bathroom sink to sit beside me as I get ready every morning. He also likes to climb into the bunny pens to steal their lettuce or hay. There is never a dull moment with Pirate around.
This story was submitted by Mary Ellen
Note from Deaf Dogs Rock: Mary Ellen thank you so much for sharing Pirate’s Happy Tail with us. According to my deaf dog Nitro, you and Pirate totally Rock.
PS: I think you should send that first breeder an email with a link to our website.