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Pet Friendly Canada Newsletter - November 2009

"No animal I know of can consistently be more of a friend and companion than a dog." (Stanley Leinwoll)

"There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast." (Unknown)

Featured Story: BE MY MAMA

Source: - Pet Stories

Cat story "I was in Louisiana. I had just lost my beloved cat of 19 years and was in mourning. I had a large, large yard... about the size of a football field with a 4-foot chain link fence. For 5 months I was feeding 3 feral cats, one mother cat and her two babies. I had been trying unsuccessfully to capture them to take them to vets and a no-kill facility to be adopted.

One lovely summer afternoon, I was sitting in a chair in my yard reading when one of the little ones, a tiny little thing, began to climb the fence! I was stunned. I watched as she struggled to get over the huge fence, falling down several times until she reached the top and fell over on my side of the fence. I did not move! She began to 'waddle' toward me, looking right at me.

About halfway across this long journey for her, she stopped, turned back, and looked at her mother and sibling - as if to say 'goodbye'. They were watching her in stunned silence as she chose to leave her wild family and enter into domestication with a human! What a decision!

She reached me and began to circle me. She did this for about 30 minutes as I spoke gently to her. She then jumped in my lap and began to lick my face! I kept her, needless to say, and she has been my wonderful little "wildcat" ever since. She chose to leave her feral existence and adopt ME. This is very unusual for a feral cat. She is an amazingly smart and loyal cat... my best friend.


Story by Patricia Langston/Moran - Pittsburgh, PA


"My loyal and trusty Shih Tzu cross named Boo. He was adopted at the age of 7. Now he is 13 and a very important part of our family. For anyone that wonders about adopting - 'saving' a pet, at an older age, it is definitely worth it. Boo has brought so much joy to our lives."
- Susan

"This is my daughter's cat Max, he is enjoying his own space."
- Susan P. from Iroquois, Ontario

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Some dogs are born without hearing, while others lose their hearing later in life. Deaf dog problems are to be expected with this unique situation - but these dogs still make loving and excellent pets for the informed owner. Fortunately, there is lots of help available from dog trainers, other pet owners, and even from veterinarians and counsellors at pet rescue organizations (there are even rescues devoted solely to finding homes for deaf dogs!).


Many of these "problems" aren't really problems, but instead they just require a new way of thinking and adjusting to living with a deaf dog. Likewise, several of these issues are very similar to those you would encounter with a hearing dog - with just slight adjustments for a deaf dog.

  • Since the dog cannot hear, they cannot respond to verbal commands. Hand signals, body posture, and visual cues are used to signal deaf dogs and indicate to them what you want them to do.

    Most dogs will look back at their owners, "checking in", in a sense. A well-trained deaf dog is no more likely to misbehave than a well-trained hearing dog. Because humans are accustomed to using speech as a communication tool, owners of deaf dogs need to be "trained" themselves in how to communicate with their dogs.

  • Be compassionate when approaching a deaf dog, and alert them of your presence. Just like a hearing dog can be surprised, so too can a deaf dog - perhaps more so because they don't have the benefit of sound. You can simply wait until the dog turns towards you; or flip a light switch on/off; put your hand near a sleeping dog to let him sense you while he awakes; or use any other signal.

    That doesn't mean a deaf dog is more prone to acting aggressively by snapping or biting. Hearing dogs get startled too, and they usually do not respond by biting. Most dogs, deaf or hearing, will show normal startle reactions ranging from "jumping" if you really startle him, or simply turning and looking at you, as if to inquire what you want.

  • If you have children, you will need to teach your children how to approach a deaf dog as well as how to "call" him using the same visual cues you use. Just like with hearing dogs, it's important to teach kids to treat animals with respect and to supervise pets and children when they are together.

  • Supervise your deaf dog. Although this should go without saying, anytime you are in an area where there are cars or other dangers, keep your dog on leash - whether your dog is hearing or deaf. Even hearing dogs do not automatically know that cars represent danger (that's why so many are injured or killed every year)! But with deaf dogs, it can be a bit more of a challenge since you can't yell a command if he gets loose. Good obedience training is a must for every dog.

Be prepared to deal with a few adjustments and you will be rewarded with a well-adjusted, loving and devoted companion. Talk to the adoption counsellor at the animal shelter, to the vet, to other people with deaf dogs (most will attest to the fact that their dogs are excellent pets). The more you know, the better prepared you will be.

Deaf dogs can lead happy and normal lives - and enrich yours!


Article courtesy of, a collection of tips and articles on dog training, health, and behavior.

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