My wonderful adventure into the world of deaf doggies started in early December two years ago. My finace and I have always wanted a white bitch Staffordshire Bull Terrier to partner with our four year old brindle male Staff. So when he was contacted by an acquaintance on Facebook wondering if he would be interested in one of her dog’s litter, of which there were two white bitches, we really thought that fate had stepped in. I asked him if we could get one of the puppies and count her as our Christmas present to each other, within two days, Trixie was brought to our home.
The above photos were submitted by Rachael for Deaf Dogs Rock Happy Tails: The first photo is Trixie’s first day at her new home with Rachael (look how small she was). The second photo is Trixie and Blade before they found out Trixie was deaf. The third photo is Trixie after they found out she was deaf and the last photo is a recent photo of Trixie smiling while she was going on a walk with Rachael and her finance.
As soon as we saw her, we knew that there were a couple of things amiss. Trixie was around 1/3 of the size she should have been for a six week old Staffy cross, her stomach was swollen to incredible proportions due to worms and her tail had been broken in three places (due to it being so well healed, we think this was done in her mothers womb) My mother didn’t think she would survive. It was hard at first, the worms had damaged her insides and she needed to have boiled egg and rice made for her three times a day because anything else and she would have diarrhea and puke her tiny guts up. She was so small we couldn’t let our older dog near her for fear he would step on her accidentally and she would get awfully bad separation anxiety at night even when she was next to my bed, Trixie would cry until I picked her up and cradled her back to sleep in my arms. We didn’t understand at that time, she couldn’t hear us and felt abandoned.
Months passed and her health began to slowly improve, as did her size but she would still cry at night and want held and when we walked her, she would shake uncontrollably. We had gotten into a routine at that point and we just thought she was a clingy dog. It wasn’t until we began training her that we noticed something else was wrong. My partner taught Trixie to sit within days, she was as bright as a button but she didn’t respond when you called her name. So he mentioned to me one night about her hearing, my partner is partially deaf, so he knew the signs. We waited until she fell asleep, then we clapped, yelled her name and tried our best to wake her, nothing worked.
At that moment in time I felt a sense of dread, I began searching on the internet and my worst fears were realized, we might have a “Deadly Mearle” deaf puppy. I made an appointment for the vets the next day, but I couldn’t help read articles on the internet about deaf dogs. At first, the outlook was so bleak; many pedigree sites advised me to get the puppy that I had loved and cared for euthanized. I had spent four months with my lovely puppy, I had been there every hour to make sure she was alright, I knew that she needed me to believe in her.
The vets confirmed that Trixie was congenitally deaf and that there wasn’t much more they could do for her, nor could they really advise me what to do. Thankfully the night before I had stumbled onto a re-homing site for deaf Dalmatians, and they sent me e-mail support, hand signal lessons… the works. They reassured me that the wonderful dog I had been raising could still be an amazing pet. Trixie flourished now we understood her behavior better, the more we walked her, the less she nervously shook until one day, she stopped shaking altogether.
Trixie now is a confident, playful and ultimately snuggly eleven month old who melts the hearts of everyone she meets. I still spend most of my time with her, she sleeps in the bed with me and my partner. She loves nothing more than to pester her big brother Blade, get cuddles from my best friend or go up to my mama’s house where she can run around her big, fenced garden safely. When I inform people she’s deaf and show them the correct hand signs to use with her, she responds instantly, to the point where they ask me if she is really deaf.
I can honestly say that having Trixie has changed my life for the better, I was diagnosed with a severe mental illness a couple of years ago and I have been struggling with the depression that comes with it for even longer. Trixie forced me into a routine, I had to get up and make sure her and Blade had food, if she needed medication I had to make sure she got it, I had to be there for her when she needed me. She made me realize that I was needed and I had a wonderful little family of my own. I’m a better person for knowing her, she’s my baby and to me she’s perfect.
This touching story was submitted by Rachael Richardson. Rachael according to my deaf dog Nitro, you and Trixie totally ROCK!
Thanks so much for sharing your story with our Deaf Dogs Rock community! xoxoxox Christina and Nitro