Last year Stella was awarded her AKC Canine Good Citizen Certification and her mama Heather has a very Happy Tail to tell.

Stella’s Happy Tail: My boyfriend (now husband) and I decided to get our first dog back in 2006. She is a beautiful black tri Australian Shepherd. Through my research when looking for our puppy, I came across a couple sites that taught about the merle to merle breeding and how it affects the puppies that are born. I had no idea! Since then, I knew I wanted to rescue and care for a lethal white whether it be deaf, blind or both.

As time went on, I would research it once in a while and look for puppies but the time was never right. This past summer, I came across an ad on Craigslist featuring an 11 month old deaf Aussie named Angel. She was beautiful. My husband and I were in the middle of planning our wedding so the timing was not perfect but I told myself that if the puppy was still available a couple months later, I would contact the rescue group and get some information on her. I would check almost every week and the puppy was still posted. After a couple months, I contacted the rescue group Northern California Family Dog Rescue and got a reply quickly.

The puppy was still available but she had a couple of medical issues. She had demodex and she was prone to OCD episodes. She would spin in circles whenever she was bored, anxious or stressed. We decided to look past that and decided to meet her. We did a two week in home trial after that to see if she was a good fit with our family. The first week and a half were rough! She was stressed from being in a new environment and her circles were non stop.

We thought we had bit off more than we could chew but I was determined to help and work with her. Graciously, Reed Morgan, one of the board members of FDR agreed to extend our two week trial to see if Angel would settle down and adjust to her surroundings. Luckily she did! We realized we were doing a couple things wrong and once we made some changes it was such a dramatic difference. We invested in an anti anxiety shirt (Thundershirt) that we would put on her if she got too stressed or anxious that worked like a charm.

My husband and I decided to keep the puppy and we renamed her Stella. She is a beautiful dog and we are so glad we made the decision to keep her. The fact that she is deaf is not even a problem! She is so good with her hand signals, it’s incredible. When we take her out to the dog park she always makes sure to check in with us and never goes too far. She is better behaved than our other Aussie and Stella is 4 years younger! We always get compliments on how beautiful and white she is. People are shocked and sometimes feel bad that she is deaf but I always tell them that it is not a problem and that she is a good girl. She makes friends with everyone and wishes she could be playing all the time. She has taught us to be patient and loving and has brought so much joy into our lives. We couldn’t have gotten any more lucky!

Story submitted by Heather Ginochio

Note from Deaf Dogs Rock: Heather thank you so much for sharing your story of Stella with us. According to my deaf dog Nitro, you and your husband totally ROCK!