Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Deaf Dachshund Learns Sign Language

Even though this is a site for Yorkies! I DO associate with other breeds of dogs!

This story is so sweet - A deaf dachshund is getting some expert help learning more sign language after finding a new home at the Missouri School for the Deaf.

A dog named Sparky was born deaf. The breeder said he barked CONSTANTLY and no one wanted him. She was about to put him down. (HOW CRUEL IS THAT?!)

Someone saw an opportunity and got the dog into eight weeks of training with inmates at the South Central Correctional Center. They taught the dog sign language and controlled his barking. They decided that Sparky should live with deaf students.

The superintendent of the Fulton school, Barbara Garrison, jumped at the chance. The students continue adding to the sign language Sparky learned from the inmates. He already knows the signs for "no," "sit," "lay down," "stay," "stop" and "heel."

The brindle-colored dachshund even sleeps with students in the dorms sometimes.

Sophomore Catherine Slinkard of Sullivan asked to keep Sparky overnight first, so he stayed in her dorm one night.

"He was very calm when I had him," Slinkard said through an interpreter.

Then Sparky went over to Michael Miller's dorm. The senior says he fell in love with the little dog. Miller learned quickly that yelling at Sparky did no good. He had to either use sign language or pick the dog up to get his attention. Miller knew Sparky could hear nothing, just like him.

"I feel that because I can communicate with him in signs that it's special," he said through an interpreter.

When Sparky isn't overnighting in the dorms, he sleeps at Garrison's house where she keeps four other dachshunds.

He patters around campus during the day.

"He fits perfectly here," Garrison said, "because these kids hear all the time what they can't do. We try to tell them what they can do."

Prison staff checks in frequently to see how Sparky is doing. The news is all good. Garrison said Sparky teaches responsibility and has the ability to help calm down students with behavior or social problems.

"He likes his new deaf family here," she said.


Jane J said...

What a great match for Sparky and the student! Touching ....
:) Thanks for the story.

Honeygo Beasley said...

Wow, that is PAWSOME how they taught that doggy sign language. I have a friend I must share this with.

Love your blog!

i love dachshund said...

... so touching, i admire these students and finally Spanky found its new home :-)