We love to hear happy adoption stories here at Deaf Dogs Rock so when Marissa sent us a thank you note and told us about Wizard, we decided we should put Wizard’s Happy Tail on Deaf Dogs Rock. Below is what Marissa wrote to our organization to let us know she appreciates the work we do.

Hi Deaf Dogs Rock,
I think your organization is great! When I adopted a puppy that turned out to be deaf I didn’t know what to expect. I came across your website in my research and it gave me hope that he could be a ‘normal’ dog. He was a naughty puppy but your website made me have confidence that he could be trained.
We worked on training and hand signals. It was a learning process for both of us. I was surprised with how responsive he was to hand signals and body language. Now we have a great bond. He is my best buddy who sleeps at my feet every night and licks my face every opportunity he gets.

Thanks for helping give deaf dogs like Wizard a chance.
I live in the Southern California area and if there are ever volunteer opportunities or anything like that please let me know so I can get involved.
Marissa & Wizard

Thanks Marissa for taking the time to share Wizard’s story with our readers. According to my deaf dogs Nitro, Bud, Bowie and myself, you and Wizard totally rock! ~ Christina Lee – Deaf Dogs Rock

Wizard’s Happy Tail by Marissa Censullo

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When my boyfriend, Jason, unexpectedly came home with a tiny, white Australian Cattle dog puppy I had mixed feelings. I had been considering adopting a second dog as a companion for my Australian Shepherd mix, but wasn’t sure if I had time for a puppy. Jason had purchased the puppy from a pet store, and immediately said that he wasn’t sure if Wizard could hear. I quickly dismissed the idea, telling myself that surely a pet store would check for something like that. After briefly playing with the puppy I began to think that Jason may be right. A visit to the veterinarian a couple days later confirmed that Wizard was indeed deaf.

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We contacted the pet store so that they could check the rest of the litter. Wizard was the only one out of the bunch that could not hear. The manager at the pet store told us to bring him back and pick out a different puppy. He told us that they would send Wizard back to the breeder. We very briefly contemplated this option given that both Jason and I work full time jobs and neither of us knew the first thing about training a deaf puppy. Even though we were nervous about the challenges that lay ahead, we couldn’t bear the thought Wizard’s fate if he were sent back to the breeder. We knew he was meant to be ours and we couldn’t give up on him.

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Wizard got his name after we found out he was deaf. We wanted to choose a name that had a silly sign associated with it since he was a goofy puppy. The ASL sign for Wizard mimics a Wizard’s hat, and is quite amusing. Training him was really no different than training any other dog. Wizard was a strong willed puppy, as most Australian Cattle dogs are. We took him to regular training classes at Petsmart and followed the standard dog training principles, just using hand signals as a substitute for words. Training took some patience and willingness to learn on our part, but it was well worth it. People often ask how we get Wizard’s attention to give commands if he is not looking at us. The truth is that there are very few moments throughout the day when Wizard is not looking at us or within arm’s reach. He is extremely focused on us and eagerly awaits facial and hand cues.

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Wizard is now three and a half years old. He loves playing ball, riding in the car, giving face kisses, swimming, playing with his brother, and most of all being by our side. He knows many hand signals and some of his favorite ones include ‘walk’, ‘car’, ‘cookie’, and ‘popcorn’. I never have to look far for Wizard. He is at my feet when I go to sleep, at my side when I wake up, and essentially never more than a foot away from me when I am at home. Wizard gives the best greetings in the mornings and when we get home from work. He brings a lot of joy to our house and we wouldn’t want to imagine our lives without him.