Update 5-25-2015: Reggie and his family are Rescue Warriors and just taking a look at Reggie The Deaf Pit Bull FB page you will see they spend much of their time advocating and rescuing dogs in their area. If you get a chance go over and take a look.
Happy Tail: Reggie was found wandering, abandoned and starving, in NE Kansas. He was taken to a no-kill shelter, but he was very scared and screeched and barked a lot, they couldn’t figure out how to calm him – he was scheduled to be euthanized. A 16-year old volunteer for the rescue organization Game Dog Guardian convinced her mom to foster him and he was pulled from the shelter just a few days before he was to be put down.
One day, I was browsing Game Dog’s site, not really for any particular reason, and saw a photo of a sweet boy curled up on a pillow in a chair. When I started reading his profile… “Reggie is a deaf pit bull…” I knew it was furry fate, my husband’s dad’s name is Reggie and he is also deaf!
We had been talking about finding a playmate for our 1 1/2 year old pittie, but we hadn’t really decided to commit to another dog just yet. A few days went by and I read a few articles about deaf dogs, their challenges, the difficulties for them getting adopted and said to my husband about a week later, let’s apply for Reggie and see what they say, he replied that he had already put in the application. But, there was a little snag – we live near Houston, over 600 miles from where Reggie was located. We convinced my parents to drive 6 hours round trip from their home to get him and then an additional 5 hours South to the boarder of TX where we met them. At first, he was very timid and confused, but the second we got him in the car, he just licked our faces and went to sleep.
We realized quickly that he would need attention and a lot of training. While he fit into our household well, making fast friends with his new fur sisters, he pulled very hard on the leash, squealed at people and dogs when they walked by, and was pretty generally difficult to deal with outside of the house. We tried to work with him on our own, but were not having a great deal of success. We got him into an organized obedience class specifically for pit bulls and he started making great progress. Socializing him was important, but he needed to be socialized in a controlled environment He loves every dog and every person he comes in contact with, but because he cannot hear them, he often misses important social cues and gets into others’ personal bubble. It was also important (maybe more important) for us to learn how to communicate with him in a manner that he could understand. Needless to say, we were scolded by the trainer frequently for being too soft on him and not making him learn to control himself. He has since passed his Behave A Bull class and is working in an intermediate obedience class – he has responded well to our use of signs/hand signals for commands and will take his Canine Good Citizen class soon. Consistency has been really important for both him and us, and we have started teaching the same signs to our other dogs. Our plan is to work with him on therapy certification so he can show people how amazing the pit bull breed is and that other-abled dogs can be successful.
This story was shared by Reggie’s human mom LaChrystal Ricke. This story is a heart warming “Happy Tail” about how hard LaChrystal and her family worked towards making Reggie a Canine Good Citizen. Great job Ricke family! Great job!
Note from Deafdogsrock: If you have a story you would like to share with us, please send your short story with at least 2 good photos of your deaf dog to: Christina Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org