Deaf Dog Responds to Sign Language

A hearing-impaired dog learns sign language and gets a new lease on life.

By Cari Jorgensen | Posted: October 15, 2014, 11 a.m. PST

My best friend knows sign language. It is a skill that has benefitted her in her career (she’s a teacher). But she’s always looking for other fulfilling ways to use it that also combines other passions of hers.

Given that her love of dogs (she has three of them) is endless, this may be what she’s looking for.

Connor, a 2-year-old dog at the Teller County Regional Animal Shelter in Divide, Colo. was born with a condition called Cerebellar Hypoplasia, meaning his cerebellum has not – and will not – mature. No matter how old he gets, he will always be a puppy.

He was transferred from a different shelter because no one wanted him (so sad!). Had the Teller County Regional Animal Shelter not taken him in, more than likely he would have been euthanized.

When shelter staff noticed Connor’s difficulty adjusting to his new surroundings, failure to listen to commands and his lack of attention toward anyone, they realized he was deaf. Staff member Tori Campbell decided try a different approach: American Sign Language.

Staff at the shelter says the difference in Connor is miraculous. Schoolchildren come to see him. Even a hearing-impaired family came to visit him.

Here’s hoping that one of Connor’s visitors adopt him and give him a much-needed forever home. October, after all, is National Adopt-a-Dog Month. I know I’ll be telling my friend about him.

If you’re interested in adopting Connor, or one of the other dogs at the shelter, visit their website.

More Special Needs Dogs


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Eileen - 249708   Port Perry, ON

10/16/2014 4:01:12 AM

What a great story and it just shows how dogs can learn and adjust when give patience and good care.

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