Author Signings help dispel Deaf Dog Myths

Deaf dogs are too often labeled as being incapable of learning, aggressive, not a good match for children, and easily startled. As Judea, my 6-year-old deaf dog, and I make visits and see people of all ages and temperaments, these myths are all quickly proven to be untrue. Judea consistently displays a loving disposition and wants nothing more than to be touched. Some people may try to say that she is the exception but all my deaf dogs have been exactly the same in showing how wonderful they are as family members. What's important to remember, however, is that like our children, teaching polite manners, careful "listening," and correct responses are essential. Any dog can display good or not-so-good behaviors - it is up to us, the human, to train our dogs consistently and continually. The myths about deaf dogs are untrue unless we don't take our responsibility seriously. Solid communication is essential, endless training is non-negotiable, total acceptance is understood, and unconditional love is forever.

Thought: "Let a sleeping dog lie" did not come about because of deaf dogs.

Hogan's Hope now available at Breakwater Books


As a first-time author marketing my book has been a learning adventure with a variety of twists and turns. Every outreach thus far has encountered its own unique requirements which have caused me to reflect on my plan and approach. It has definitely been overwhelming at times when I look at all the elements and send out letters to a myriad of retailers, libraries, and schools. However, receiving such a warm and welcoming response from new owner, LIza Fixx, of Breakwater Books in Guilford, Connecticut, recharges my batteries and provides much-needed encouragement.  I am excited to announce that Hogan's Hope is now officially available to readers for purchase at this very special shop located on the Green in Guilford, CT.

While recently becoming the owner of this quaint, independent bookstore, Liza is extremely experienced and knowledgeable in her field. She is redecorating, reorganizing, and retailing simultaneously - no small task! The unveiling of her new storefront is scheduled for the last week of April and promises to feature a wonderful selection of books of all categories for all ages. Liza also announced that my book, Hogan's Hope, will have its own special spot, complete with a sign to help grab readers' attention. 

Breakwater Books is located at 82 Whitfield Street in downtown Guilford and sits on the beautiful Green of this charming, historic village. Treat yourself. Walk the sidewalks and enjoy the wonderful experience of getting to know Liza Fixx and her extraordinary staff.

Love and Laughter with our Dogs

Every day brings new opportunities for us to experience a life filled with love and laughter, and our pets often are the source of that much-needed love and laughter. Yet, I am compelled to pause and ask myself, do we fully appreciate them and their amazing, priceless gifts? How many times do the moments of simple joy, of careful patience, or of quiet play escape us because we are busy, distracted, or desensitized to our pet's wonderful personalities and innocent hearts?

My blog is short today because I challenge us to focus on the goodness that our pets offer without the requirement of payment. Full, unadulterated acceptance, love, faith, and joy are given with only the hope of being cared for and loved in return.

This week had National Pet Day. Let's all honor and love our pets everyday.

The Goal of Writing the book, Hogan's Hope

“God is the only one who can make the valley of trouble a door of hope.”
Hosea 2:15

Writing the story of Hogan's life was more than accounting for the events of my special pup who brought so much into our life as a family. Writing was a journey - a journey through the daily events, the learning, and the discoveries of living with a beautiful, God-created being who, because of human breeding, was born deaf. I am not a writer by trade but a person who loves all creations and wants the world to know how amazing our deaf dogs truly are.

When Hogan came into my life, he was adopted as a brother to our very energetic and playful, black Labrador named India. And, for all of us, it was truly "love at first sight." Bringing Hogan home was nothing less than a magnificent blessing and he gifted us with a greater understanding of what deaf dogs encounter in the human world - misunderstanding, unacceptance, and often destruction.

I continue to find it impossible to believe that there is any good reason for deaf dogs, any dog, to be destroyed, mistreated, or abandoned because of predetermined prejudice and misconception. Hence, my need to write the book, Hogan's Hope.  It tells the story of a deaf puppy who was rescued from neglect, adopted into a forever home, and went on to learn, grow, and demonstrate how extremely successful a "handicapped" dog can be in living a perfectly "normal" life.

Hogan provided the message of hope for a life filled with love and acceptance for many deaf dogs worldwide.  By telling his tale of valor, I believe that his courage to overcome challenges and human prejudice can continue to offer inspiration to anyone, human or pet, that accomplishment, success, and genuine love are truly possible.   Through his lifetime of determination, Hogan offers all of us the promise that we are capable of achieving any goal that we set for ourselves, no matter what our particular "obstacle." By holding onto hope we are gifted with inspiration and the greater belief that we, everyone, are worthy of being loved and accepted.  Anything is possible if we continue to hope.  Hogan never gave up his hope, and his dreams came true.  More than anything, I want his book, Hogan's Hope, to offer the insight into the world of true faith, unconditional love, and endless hope.

Deaf Dogs learned sign language

#Hogan began learning #American #Sign Language beginning in 1993 when he was adopted by Connie Bombaci.

Hogan and his #deaf sister, Georgia, learned over 65 signs and short sentences. Even their hearing siblings learned the hand signs which became extremely useful and valuable as the pups grew older and lost a great deal of their hearing. Due to Hogan's advancing years at the time of this video, he is no longer able to demonstrate as many of the known signs because of his physical decline.

The best advice I can give anyone with a #deaf #pup, child, friend, or relative is to establish a solid method of communication.  COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS!!!!!!!  I bought a pocket-sized book on American Sign Language.  I did not know #ASL prior to adopting my male, Hogan.  I chose human sign language because there are a great number of folks who know at least a bit of sign and it's already "invented!" There's no reason to reinvent the wheel.  Also, when I had to leave the pups with a sitter or the veterinarian, I merely had to leave the handbook or make copies of the most important #signs.  This makes it possible for them to talk with my pups without a great deal of instruction - critical in sudden situations!  My pups were also never left in a totally "silent" environment - someone could always talk to them which is comforting let alone wonderful.  They watch my hands and face for messages, and they love to be signed to.  They're actually quite intent.

I started through simple repetition. "Sit" is great to start along with "cookie."  Believe me - once your pup puts together cookie and the reward, you will be off and running!  Keep it simple and always use a sign for what you want.

Like any other pup, deaf pups are smart and they learn.  They are physical in nature and naturally watch for signals and body language.

Because my pups loved to ride in the car, I taught them the sign for car. When I signed "car," they ran for the door. "Kiss" was fun and going for a "walk" met with great approval.  "Potty" (I used the sign for toilet which is simply the letter "T") is great.  I signed it every time I took them out to go potty, and they knew I meant business, especially if it was late and I wanted to go to "bed."

It's as simple as using consistent repetition. Instead of using the spoken word, use the sign for the word that you want or you need you pup to respond to.

Be gentle, patient, and very positive.

Reward, never punish.  The more you reward, the more the pup will respond. 

Most important, you CAN do it!

A Day in my Life with a #Deaf #Dog

Judea loves looking out the front window watching for birds flying, wildlife crossing the yard, or squirrels running the porch banister. She waits with great anticipation to go out and run free.

Each day is made better because of the company and love of my #pets who I prefer to consider my four-legged family members. I also consider myself to be adopted by them and I often ask myself, "How much more like a child can she become?" Their unconditional love and acceptance are amazing gifts that enrich my life and their desire to spend all their time with me leave me never alone.

A typical day begins exactly at 7:05 AM with Judea gently jumping and placing her front paws on the edge of my bed directly facing me. Her tail wags with such enthusiasm that the vibration can be felt in the mattress, awakening me to her rhythmic "alarm clock." She peers into my eyes and touches her nose onto mine, and a whisper of a puppy kiss makes it impossible for me to resist her plea for me to get up and prepare breakfast.

With breakfast completed Judea is asked to clean up after herself by bringing her bowl to the sink for me--Good manners are, after all, a good thing for every "child" to learn! Playtime follows with a good, aerobic romp in the front yard. Judea has learned to entertain herself by chasing the birds or their shadows that are cast from overhead and she makes it a competition of who can outrun or fly the fastest.

Worn out (a tired dog is a good dog) she comes running to the house upon the ASL sign for come and enjoys a long drink of water and a rewarding cookie. Praise and reward are two of her favorite things and she seems to beam from ear to ear with a big canine smile. Her entire body continues to wiggle around my legs as I give her a good rubdown and ear scratch. Naptime, then added playtime, more napping, taking a walk to visit our neighboring horse, Mistrel, . . . . fill the day with wonderful moments of pure and simple joy--the best kind of happiness for me.

Since the passing of my devoted service dog, Clarence, in January, Judea is beginning to go places with me. I miss the constant companionship when I go out so Judea is being trained to take his place, at least in part. Much to my hubby's amazement and pleasure, she is stellar in her behavior.

As the evening approaches and the colder temperatures chill the air, Judea finds the warmest spot in the house directly in front of the wood-burning stove. She stays there for the remainder of the evening and enjoys the stream of warm air that comes from the stove's fan and could melt a tray of ice cubes in less than a minute. Another of her favorite things.

At the end of the day, I sign "bed" and Judea bounds to the bedroom where she quickly jumps upon the mattress of our king-sized bed. She usually waits patiently until I join her when she begins to put herself to sleep. Her routine is to tuck herself in by lifting up the top edge of the blankets with her nose and then burying her way to the bottom of the bed. Once she finds the perfect place and position, she places her body against my legs and rests her head on my ankles.

This is just a glimpse of a day with Judea, my 6 1/2 year-old, deaf, Dalmatian. Every day is a bit different than the other but the #love, #faithfulness, dedication, and joy are steadfast.

Hogan's Hope Book Trailer

[Click on the title to enter into this Blog's discussion.]


HOGAN'S HOPE: A Deaf Hero's Inspirational Quest for Love and Acceptance

As I sit reflecting back through the years and the wonderful, faithful pups who I have been so blessed to have been rescued by, I am filled with a real feeling of warmth and comfort.  Each one gave me great companionship and sense of belonging. Their faithful love and constant forgiveness were undeniable, but what horrifies me is the knowledge that so many beautiful animals are "thrown away," abused, and neglected. 

As it has been said before, deaf dogs are too often the target of this abuse, even destruction. This book is the tale of a legendary deaf canine hero who, after being rescued from neglect and before deaf dogs were regarded as "worthy," prevailed as he learned American Sign Language. His ability and tenacity provides the hope of life for many deaf dogs worldwide. His courage to overcome challenges and prejudice continues to give inspiration to anyone, human or pet, that accomplishment, success, and genuine love are truly possible. Through his lifetime of determination, Hogan's journey offers the promise that anyone is capable of achieving an amazingly "ordinary" life and a life away from isolation.  His tale of valor reveals that dreams come true and offers insight into the world of true faith, unconditional love, and endless hope. Indeed, it is a story that needs to be shared.

Hogan appeared on shows such as Dateline, Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures, Amazing Tails, and Oprah.

Now, after years of reflection I am so excited that I can share Hogan's story and that it finally has reached the printing presses. Copies are available for everyone to read, whether it's in hardcover, paperback, or e-book format.  

As Dr. Nicholas H. Dodman of Tufts University has stated, "Sit! Read! Enjoy!"

Hogan's Hope on Sale

I am very excited to let everyone know that Hogan's Hope is now available at or! This past year has been a real and wonderful journey of writing and learning.  As someone said to me, "Writing a book is not for the faint of heart."  She was absolutely right, BUT I believe that I have been able to get to the point of seeing my book in print only because of the steadfast faith, support, and encouragement of my dear family and close friends. 

Hogan's life continues to inspire me to reach for my dreams by continuing to believe that they are indeed possible.  My wish for you is that you gain immeasurable inspiration and hope from reading his legendary story.  Enjoy!

NOTE: To make comments in this blog, simply click on the title and scroll to the bottom to type your text. Thank you and God bless!

Hogan's Hope is with the Printer

I sit here trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I received a telephone call congratulating me that the book has moved forward to print! A year of writing, editing, proof reading, formatting, more editing, and final proof reading has come to its end.  Hogan's Hope will be available in hard and soft cover as well as on line.  His amazing story of courage to overcome neglect and realize a life filled with acceptance and love exemplifies the miracles of undying hope. 

Now, I begin the venture of learning to market Hogan's story so many will be able to read it and gain inspiration to overcome any challenge and realize that success is a true possibility. 

This was a dream for me from many years ago.  Through the encouragement and help of family and special friends, I was reminded of Hogan's tale and his unfailing determination to succeed. So, here I am and here we go!  Hogan's Hope, A Deaf Hero's Inspirational Quest for Love and Acceptance will soon be completely published and ready for all of you to enjoy and share with your own friends and family.  Thank you for your support.  I am excited and nervous but can hardly wait for you all to read about this very special deaf canine hero!

NOTE:  To make comments in this blog, simply click on the title and scroll to the bottom to type your text.  Thank you and God bless!

Hogan's Hope, the book, with Design Team

On January 1, 2016 I set myself the goal of writing Hogan's inspirational life story.  Going into this amazing project, I didn't realize just how much I was going to learn.  Sure, I had many wonderful moments reminiscing the memories of living with Hogan and his siblings; but I experienced an enriched sense of understanding of what it must have been like for a deaf pup to go from "rags to riches."  Hogan gave far more than he received and I pray that his undying spirit of faith and accomplishment serves to help all of us realize that we can and we must become all that we can be.

Hogan's tale is with the design team for the final, finishing touches before going to print. Wow! Can this be true? Yep, it can and it is.  Because of my own personal team of family and friends who gave selflessly to help me navigate this adventure, I am about to realize my goal.

As a teaser, here is a short sampling of the beginning of Hogan's life:

Winter had persisted for so long and had been dreadfully cold, and the warmth of spring seemed as if it might never arrive. But it was now April 10, and the air rustled the new leaves on the trees that surrounded the fenced cages that held the dogs. The grass was turning green while the daffodils and tulips were appearing in the gardens around the house that was perched atop the hill. Springtime brought new life and Vicki’s puppies would soon be arriving. Vicki lay quietly in her cold, steel pen and sniffed the air. Instinctively, she was aware that something was changing. The temperature dropped and stray snowflakes announced a coming storm. Vicki knew she had to find shelter. She was alone and she was very cold.
Anna was the breeder’s little girl who loved Vicki. But Anna wasn’t home, so no one was coming to make sure that Vicki and her new puppies would be safely sheltered inside. Desperate to find cover, Vicki was relieved to discover that a hearty shove with her nose opened the little entrance to her outdoor run and allowed her to escape the wintry blast. Once inside, she pawed some rags into a soft cushion and settled down to await the birth of her puppies.
While the wind whistled and sleet pinged on the tin roof of the dog pen, the puppies were born. One by one nine wet and skinny puppies emerged. The tenth and final pup took much longer. It seemed he was reluctant to leave the safety of his mama’s womb to enter an icy, strange, new world. While his brothers and sisters frantically searched for their mother’s nipples, the tenth pup was content to snuggle close to the security of her body. She nuzzled him tenderly, and then licked him clean. Finally, Vicki rested while all of her babies blissfully suckled.
During the next few weeks Anna watched the puppies transform from wiggling, wrinkled newborns into soft, playful balls of white fur. Each day presented a new revelation. First, their eyes opened, and then as if by magic, the black markings that identified them as Dalmatians, began to appear. Anna must have delighted in their antics as they wrestled for position to nurse and chased one another’s tails.
Anna loved all ten puppies. However, there was something about the tenth pup that put a smile on her face or a frown on her brow. He was smaller than the others, yet it was more than his size. Her watchful eyes detected that something was different about him, but she couldn’t determine exactly what it was. She suspected that Vicki also sensed a difference because she watched over him more closely than she did the others. With maternal nudges of her nose, Vicki often encouraged him to join the other pups at play, yet he preferred to remain in the safety of her warmth. But his difference was apparent to Vicki and Anna.

NOTE:  To make comments in this blog, simply click on the title and scroll to the bottom to type your text.  Thank you and God bless!


Happiness with our Pets in 2017

Clarence "Baby Angel" Bombaci June 5, 2003 - January 9, 2017

Clarence "Baby Angel" Bombaci

June 5, 2003 - January 9, 2017

I've been away from my computer for a while but am compelled today to write at least a few words to encourage everyone to enjoy every moment of the new year with our precious pets.  They give to us unreservedly and without question.  They give to us expecting nothing big in return--simply safety, shelter, nourishment, and love.  With our true and real love, we gain their gifts of deep devotion and loyalty.

I was the recipient of amazing love from a dog named Clarence.  He came into my life quite unexpectedly at the age of 4 months when he was going to be destroyed because he was no longer wanted.  We were suppose to foster him until a forever family could be found.  Well, God intended us to be his forever family, and Clarence (named for the angel in the movie It's a Wonderful Life) became a gift beyond belief.  At only a year of age, he easily trained into becoming my service dog. He often knew what I needed before I did and kept me safe, independent, and well-cared for everyday.  He loved working and side-by-side we literally traveled the country together on trains, planes, cars, buses, and boats.  Even on his last day, he tried with all his might to continue to work by handing me his food bowl. 

The years passed much too fast.  I promised to enjoy every second when I adopted him - or should I say he adopted me? I urge you to please embraced every moment.  Before you know it, 14 years will have gone by.  Fill them with fun, affection, and love.

Clarence was and always will be my Baby Angel and his happy attitude will live on in my heart and mind.  I cherished God's gift and treasure each memorable moment that Clarence and I shared and lived together.  His servant example is one from which we learn so much. 

Holiday Safety Thought #3

Clarence loves to "help" but can get himself into mischief.

Clarence loves to "help" but can get himself into mischief.

  • Secure strings of lights, electrical cords, and plugs away from areas that your pets can get trapped, chew on them, or topple your tree. And, be sure to unplug all lights when you leave your pets home alone.
  • Locate scissors, string, ribbons, and papers away from reach.  They have a myriad of dangers possible!
  • Keep toys away from inquisitive and chewing pups.  Pieces can be ingested, cause choking, block intestines.
  • Maintain your pets regular schedules of eating, walking, and resting.  This will help to keep stress to a minimum.
  • Continue your pets on their regular diet and away from foods that can cause poisoning, stomach upset, or blockages.
  • Make sure that your pets remain hydrated with lots of fresh water available.  The water around your Christmas tree can be extremely dangerous with toxins and pine needles.  Be sure that additives are nontoxic and do NOT use aspirin which can be lethal. Even pretty snow globes can present a risk because they can have poisonous fluids such as alcohol or antifreeze in their liquids.
  • Keep the telephone numbers of your veterinarian, emergency 24-hour pet clinics, and animal poison control centers posted near your telephone. 
  • Be prepared for any possible emergency!!!

Merry Christmas to you all!


Holiday Safety Thought #2

Christmas decorations create a beautiful and an almost magical display in our homes.  For us humans these pretty ornaments and plants are understood to be just that - decorations. However, our pets are often fascinated with these new "toys" that seem to them to offer fun, play, and even a treat to munch on.  Please take great care and protect your precious dogs, cats, and other pets!

Christmas trees need to be secured so they can't topple over if our pets try to jump on or climb.  Fast moving dogs can upside down an unsteady tree in a heart beat. Locate the tree where it is safe from exploring critters who are curious about an outdoor tree moving inside! Friends of mine placed their tree in their enclosed porch with glass doors. The humans get to enjoy it without worrying about their pets toppling their tree or, much worse, their beloved pet getting dangerously hurt.  

I knew that eating tinsel and various ornaments can cause intestinal blockages, but I never gave much thought to the needles of the real or artificial tree. They can perforate the intestines' wall and cause life-threatening leakages and infections. This is another big reason to locate our trees out of reach of our beloved pets.

Popcorn balls or strings are yummy temptations and can cause our pets to tug at the tree and destroy our lovely evergreen. Remember that mistletoe, holly, and poinsettia plants are toxic and will poison our loving, four-legged family members  

Electrical lights and cords can electrocute and kill when chewed on or strangle when played with and our pets get wrapped up. Secure all wires

Fires in the fireplace are cozy but please protect your pet from getting burned by placing a sturdy fire screen.  One of my pups loves the warmth so much that she gets much too close. Her tail could easily go up in flames if a safe barrier were not there to keep her out of harm's way.  This applies to burning candles as well.  Keep them up and away from your pets and the possibility of getting knocked over.  A friend's apartment went up in smoke quite literally from a candle being knocked over by a wagging tail.

A good rule of thumb is to think first and use only decorations that we are absolutely positive will not become a potential danger to our pets. Err on the side of caution every time. I would rather have a safe and happy holiday than one spent in the veterinarian's hospital.

God bless you all and have a blessed, peace-filled holiday. Thank  You 

Holiday Safety Thought #1 for our Pets

The beautiful season of Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year is here and our pets join in many of the festivities.  As we approach the merriment, we must keep foremost in our minds the protection and safety of our loving, four-legged family members. Perhaps first, we should consider whether or not the gift of a new pet is a wise choice.  New pets do NOT necessarily make good holiday gifts and adding a new pet requires a huge commitment and responsibility beyond the holiday season.  However, if you are truly thinking of getting a new dog or cat and have given it a great deal of careful thought and consideration, think about adopting a homeless pet who would benefit from your love and safekeeping.  There are many rescue organizations, animal shelters, and humane societies with breeds of every type and of all age groups.  Our physically challenged and older furry friends who have been abandoned under a myriad of circumstances are yearning for our love and embrace and can truly benefit from your open arms.  Please think long and hard before adopting a new pet during this holiday season.  Let good reason rule the excitement of the heart.

The beautiful season of Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year is here and our pets join in many of the festivities.  As we approach the merriment, we must keep foremost in our minds the protection and safety of our loving, four-legged family members.

Perhaps first, we should consider whether or not the gift of a new pet is a wise choice.  New pets do NOT necessarily make good holiday gifts and adding a new pet requires a huge commitment and responsibility beyond the holiday season.  However, if you are truly thinking of getting a new dog or cat and have given it a great deal of careful thought and consideration, think about adopting a homeless pet who would benefit from your love and safekeeping.  There are many rescue organizations, animal shelters, and humane societies with breeds of every type and of all age groups.  Our physically challenged and older furry friends who have been abandoned under a myriad of circumstances are yearning for our love and embrace and can truly benefit from your open arms. 

Please think long and hard before adopting a new pet during this holiday season.  Let good reason rule the excitement of the heart.

Hogan's Hope, The Book in Editing

The dream of having our Hogan's legendary story of surviving horrific neglect and becoming a healthy, loving, and intelligent pup is coming alive in his book, Hogan's Hope.  Hogan's life helped change the untrue myths about deaf dogs and revealed how wonderful they can become through acceptance, adaptation, and unconditional love.

The editor is nearing her outstanding with proof reading, finishing touches, and publishing to follow.  We are not setting a launch date yet but promise to keep our followers up to date and in the loop.  Please stay tuned and spread the word.  Hogan's hope to make a difference will be realized. 

"There are none so deaf than those who refuse to hear." (adapted) Matthew Henry, Commentaries (1708-1710)

"Who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear." Jeremiah 5:21

Tips for Thanksgiving Safety

Our pups can become quite determined to have some of our special Thanksgiving dinner and treats.  Even Heidi is determined to beg and receive some of our human food, going so far as to push her bowl to my feet!!  However, not all the human food is pet-friendly, and it up to us to ensure their health and well being.  Safety must be first!  And we need to be careful and attentive to make certain that our furry family members won't become sick or even worse.  We all need to remember to NOT give into their irresistible begging or my own desire to give them a "special" meal.  None of us will be very thankful if they eat dangerous food, plants, or drinks.

Here are a few things we need to keep in mind:

  • Bones, raw or undercooked turkey, and heavy fats can cause distress in the digestive system. IA small bite of boneless, well-cooked turkey is okay.  We have to remember that:  1) too much of anything isn't good; 2) raw or undercooked meats can contain salmonella bacteria; 3) bones are extremely dangerous.  Check even the smallest pieces of turkey to make absolutely certain that there are no bones. 
  • Small amounts are best.  Sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green beans, tidbits of turkey, a few drops of gravy, or baked bread on top of their regular meal makes it extra special.  Please don't spoil your holiday.  Unbaked yeast can become a life-threatening situation that endangers our pets' lives.  The raw yeast in unbaked or under-baked dough creates gases that expand in the digestive tract and can cause bloat.  Bloat is a real emergency that can only be treated with emergency hospital intervention.
  • Alcohol is life threatening. A drunk pet is NOT funny.  Keep all drinks high enough so their long tongues can't reach inside the glasses.   f you plan to bake Thanksgiving desserts, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs—they could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.
  • Desserts are delicious but raw batter contains raw eggs which may contain salmonella bacteria and cause food poisoning.  A smidgeon of baked pumpkin pie is okay!
  • Special Treats for our Special Pets.  We can create a very specialmeal and occasion for our pets by buying them treats made especially for them.  We can visit our favorite pet supply store and purchase a new, safe chew treat or toy.  We can even stuff their hollowed toy with a healthy treat and give them hours of delicious enjoyment. 
  • Please DO NOT overindulge our precious pets.  Upset tummies, vomiting, diarrhea, bloat, and pancreatitis threaten their lives and it our responsibility to keep them healthy and safe.
  • Remember:  If it isn't good for we, the human, it isn't good for our pets either!!  Best - keep our pets on their regular diet throughout the entire holiday season.

There is also more information offered by ASPCA People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets

Living with Our Deaf Pups

Our deaf animals can be wonderful and loving members of our families if we remember they have some special needs. Adopting them, like any pet, is a real responsibility and commitment.  Below, I have made a simple list that is designed to help us and our special family members and indicates the most important things we need to do.

1. Learn to communicate with them their way.  American Sign Language (ASL) is great inasmuch as it is already invented and allows many others to communicate with our deaf pups.

2. Always let them know when you are nearby.  Like any dog, we need to be cognizant of their need not to be startled.  The expression, "Let a sleeping dog lie," didn't come about because of deaf dogs, but any dog.  Courtesy first!

3. Approach them slowly from the front where they can see you.  It is always best to approach our dogs, whether they hear us or not, in a manner that they know that we are present.

 4. Always be gentle with touch and gesture.  Our love needs to be shown in every way.  Massage is also a great way to establish closeness and trust.

 5. Use only praise, encouraging touch, and positive reinforcement. And lots of it !!  Our pups love to please us and the more wonderful feedback that we give, the happier they are.

 6. Allow them to approach a newcomer first by smelling the person's fist.  Never allow a stranger or anyone to rush in.

 7. Keep them on leashes and close to you when out on walks.

 8. Tether them to you in the house in order to help with initial adjustment, house breaking, bonding, and helping them feel safe.  My deaf pups bonded so closely with me that they were nicknamed Velcro dogs.  There is no better feeling than having a devoted and loving dog by our side. 

 9. Provide outdoor fencing that is secure and essential for their safety.  They can't hear dangers.  However, we need to remember that all pets need to be kept safe; and it's our responsibility to keep them safe.

 10. Work with them in an established and continual training program.  Our pets are adopted members of our families, and daily attention is "a non-negotiable" just as it is for any child or loved one.  Learning is continual throughout their entire lives.

** Love and accept them with their special needs. **

NOTE:  To make comments in this blog, simply click on the title and scroll to the bottom to type your text.  Thank you and God bless!



Tips - Halloween Safety

Simple is best.

Simple is best.

Halloween is holiday that can be great fun for our trick-or-treaters but can be the source of stress for our pups.  And, keeping our pets safe is important and actually quite easy if we keep their needs in mind.  The ASPCA makes some simple recommendations for keeping them safe and happy. 

Number 1 on their list is the candy:
Candy is for the human trick-or-treaters and can be toxic to our pets. "Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for cats and dogs, and sugar-free candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can cause serious problems in pets. If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately."  Candy wrappers are a threat as well, causing stomach upset and even deadly blockages.

Number 2 is the decorations
Keep decorations out of reach.  While things like pumpkins, corn, glow sticks, etc. aren't big threats, they can cause severe stomach upset. 

Number 3 is costumes
I love to dress my pups up for most holidays BUT I watch closely for any indications that they don't like the costume.  We do not want to cause unnecessary stress.  Costumes should never cause risk or infringe on eyesight, breathing, movement, or being able to express themselves with a bark or meow.  Keep it simple.  I use a headband or just a holiday scarf for one of my pups.

Number 3 is safety
I always make sure that I have an identification collar or tag on my pups before the visitors of Halloween arrive.  I even have reflecting collars on them so they are more visible in the darkness.  If they do escape, they can be returned to me more easily.  One of my pups needs to be kept in a completely separate part of the house because the costumes are a bit too overwhelming.  NO STRESS!  NO WORRIES!  Our pups depend on us to provide safety, security, and well being. 

If your dog has any potential to jump up, nip, or bite, PLEASE secure him or her in another room.  We must not only consider the safety of our visitors, but we don't want to encounter the slightest chance of losing our dog in a legal suit.

If you suspect that something is going to create an unsafe or stressful situation, please provide your wonderful and loving pet an alternative.  Remember, too, that our deaf dogs need extra security!

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In the News - Dog Stands Guard

Our #dogs are amazing and loyal creatures who possess the wonderful ability to teach us how to be genuinely and truly dedicated to one another.  We need to watch, listen, and learn.  This is demonstrated in a story of two lost pups who were rescued after being lost for a week.

Tillie, a red setter, stood guard over her friend, Phoebe, after she fell into an empty cistern.  Every day for a week, Tillie would leave to seek help and then return to the concrete structure to stay close to Phoebe.  People came forward and reported seeing the "red dog" after learning via social media that the two had been missing.  Volunteers went looking in the Washington mountains in search of the lost pups and found Tillie with her head resting on top of the wall.  Fortunately, while the pups were cold and hungry, both were well and reunited with their human family.

I am always encouraged with happy endings but even more inspired by the lesson of this heroic canine who remained steadfast in her task to stand guard for her friend.  I repeat - we need to watch and learn.  We must also remain loyal and not give up looking for our pups or #pets who may go missing.  They give us unwavering, unconditional love and loyalty; and it is our responsibility to return their blessings.  Hope endures for those who believe and invest their hearts.

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American Sign Language with Deaf Dogs

I have had the awesome privilege to have been the human parent of three amazing and loving #deaf #dogs over the past 23 years beginning in 1993.  Working with these wonderful #pups has brought clear understanding of just how imperative it is for us to develop solid and loving relationships with all our family members and friends, human and all God's creatures alike.  No matter what our particular strengths and weaknesses happen to be, they combine themselves into making us the unique and special beings that we are. 

I have also discovered that working with and/or #training our #deaf dogs has not changed, and I begin today to offer tips to anyone who may need or be interested in caring for our very special pups.  I shall continue over the course of the next few weeks to give folks my list of tips, one by one.  But, today I simply offer a glimpse into our home back in 2007 when my son-in-law, Julius, captured a couple minutes of me and my pups in the kitchen during a holiday festivity communicating with American Sign Language (ASL).  You will see: Hogan, the older deaf Dalmatian; India, the elderly Black Labrador who had gone deaf with age; Clarence, the young yellow Labrador who understands ASL; and Georgia, the petite deaf Dalmatian.  The two smaller pups are our daughter's; and they, too, have been taught to understand some signs. 

I teach all my pups to understand this already-invented form of communication so they can all comprehend what I am saying at any particular time.  Of course, being a verbal human, I use the spoken word at the same time which naturally increases my facial expressions and enhances my message.  ASL is extremely convenient as well because we have often encountered others outside our home who are familiar or even fluent in signing.  It's incredible to watch others interact with my pups in a productive and meaningful way!

But, the message I hope everyone understands first and foremost is that communication is key in our success.  We all need to be able to communicate, to understand, and to be understood.  Without a solid method of communication our pups, like us, will become frustrated and anxious.  I encourage folks to get a pocket-sized handbook on ASL and start!  It's not only fun, it's a game changer!!