Some things are just meant to be.
Rosie the dog had two strikes against her chances of getting adopted - 1) She's a pit bull. 2) Rosie is completely deaf.
Volunteers at the Central Nebraska Humane Society noticed Rosie wouldn't respond to any commands. Tracie Pfeifle soon came to realize Rosie was deaf.
“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,” Pfeifle explained.
Still, there was just something special about Rosie and Pfeifle began working with her to teach her sign language. She started putting treats up to her face and signing with a thumbs up to communicate "good girl" when she was doing something they wanted her to do.
Rosie learned basic commands like, "sit," "down," "stay," "outside" and "walk." Though these seem like simple instructions to most dogs, when Rosie began figuring out that people were communicating with her, it really brought the three-year-old dog 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,” Pfeifle said.
Then it was time to wait and hope that an adopter would be willing to give Rosie yet another chance. Would someone be willing to learn sign language to communicate with Rosie?
Then one day the Koch family visited the Nebraska shelter. Cindy Koch, a friendly mother indicated that she was interested in Rosie and that she's always wanted a deaf dog. Why? “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,” Koch explained. Koch's family already knows sign language because of Cindy, so learning the signs that Rosie understands is easy.
The Koch's 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,” says Koch.
Pfeifle got a little choked up talking about the perfect adoption for this special dog: “It’s what I hoped would eventually happen, she couldn’t have gone to a nicer family," she said while smiling through tears. "I believe deaf dogs can sense how you’re feeling, and it’s more intensified now because Cindy and Rosie are both deaf, so they definitely have a very special bond.”
Volunteers at CNHS were so inspired by the events surrounding Rosie's adoption that they are now working with another deaf pit bull named Noah. Like Rosie, teaching him sign language has brought out Noah's sweet personality too.