Written by Stacy Diaz
Luna (formerly Mushroom) was one of 12 pups. She and her entire family were in a high kill shelter in SC the summer of 2011. A local rescue claimed two pups: Luna and her sister; the rest of the family was destroyed. When the foster Mom took Luna and her sister to the vet for a check, she was much saddened to learn that Luna was deaf. She bemoaned not having saved a “normal” dog, and expected that finding a home for Luna would be difficult.
Luna in her Puppy Class at Petco
To try to help, the trainer at PetCo where the foster Mom worked adoption events offered to work with Luna: to teach her some hand signals and basic obedience. Little Luna was a natural at it! The trainer offered to help look around folks with experience with Pit Bulls to adopt Luna, and she came across my website. The foster Mom told me that, if I would adopt Luna, she would drive her all the way to VA to be with our family. I talked to my very sweet husband, and in October of 2011, Luna came to live with us!
Owning a deaf dog has been an amazing experience, and I will always have at least one from now on. I could go on and on about what a great dog she is, and how much she has taught me! Luna happily lives in a home with 5 other dogs. She attended Doggie Day Care when she was a pup, and we did some basic obedience classes. She earned her CGC in February of 2012.
Luna as a puppy.
As she approached 1 year old, I noticed Luna really starting to explore the world with her nose, and I decided to sign her up for K9 Nose Work classes.The sport of Nose Work is a competition sport centered around the same training principles of narcotic, cadaver, and bomb-sniffing dogs: to teach dogs to successfully identify odors in various settings. In nosework, we identify essential oils: birch, anise, and clove. Luna took to the sport instantly! Any dog can do nosework, and deaf/blind dogs are particularly good at it, as their noses are more sensitive to compensate for their ‘disability.’
Luna competing in Nose Work
Luna and I have done Nose Work for about a year and a half now. Last summer, she passed her first ORT (odor recognition test.) This test has 12 boxes, and your dog has to indicate in which box lies the Q-tip with the odor. Last weekend, she received her Nose Work title. To achieve this, we had to locate birch in an interior area, an exterior area, on one of 3 vehicles, and out of 20 boxes. You have to successfully complete all 4 elements to pass. We now have our eye on working at the NW2 level.
The sport is extremely fun! The group with whom I train, Paws Plus, in Richmond, VA, is amazing! We both have had lots of fun, and have learned a ton! Furthermore, nosework has really empowered Luna: it has given her a tool to use to explore the world around her. I’ve also used nosework class as the setting for our continued obedience work. It is an amazing sport!
If anyone would like additional information about it, please feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org As for Luna…well…she ROCKS!