GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KHGI) – The staff at a Nebraska Humane Society says it can be hard for older or disabled dogs to get adopted.
One three-year-old pit bull that captured the heart of a volunteer is headed to her forever home with a very special family who can relate. Both the dog and her new human, are deaf.
Tracie Pfeifle says Rosie the pit bull faces challenges that other shelter dogs don’t.
“You can get most dogs’ attention by saying their name or making a sound, but she can’t respond to that because she is deaf,” said Pfeifle.
So Pfeifle has been teaching Rosie sign language.
“We started using treats and putting the treat up to your face and saying ‘good girl’ with your thumb up and then she figured out how, that we were communicating with her,” said Pfeifle.
Good girl, sit, down, stay, outside, and walk – basic commands, but Pfeifle says it brought the three-year old out of her shell.
“It was just amazing to watch her just blossom into a dog; I don’t think she knew how to be a dog.”
Then it was a waiting game for Rosie. Waiting for someone willing to learn her new language to come along, until now. Cindy Koch says she’s always wanted a deaf dog.
“Because I’m deaf and we want to relate to her, and understand how she feels – want to communicate with her through signing, teach her signing,” said Koch.
The Koch family already knows sign language, so learning Rosie’s signs is easy, and they plan to teach her more.
“I’m going to teach her my sign language, how deaf people communicate, she’s a smart dog, she can pick up fast,” said Koch.
It’s a bittersweet day for Pfeifle and the shelter, but they say it’s exactly what they wanted for this special dog.
“It’s what I hoped would eventually happen and it, she couldn’t have gone to a nicer family.”