Like many dogs, Maggie, The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is affectionate, sweet and loves attention.
“She’s very loving,” said Maureen Stier, Maggie’s owner. “She’s really drawn to people.”
But, what makes Maggie different from other dogs is something the eye can’t see.
“When she was around three years old, I started noticing her hearing wasn’t what it used to be,” said Maureen. “Before that, if the doorbell rang, she’d run to the door. But soon, she didn’t seem to notice it anymore.
Early on, Maggie had the normal range of senses that most dogs have. At the age of three, she began to show signs that she was losing her hearing.
By the time she was five, Maggie had become completely deaf and Maureen had to consider a change in they way she and Maggie would communicate.
In true dog fashion, Maggie was resilient in handling her disability. Almost as if the hearing impairment didn’t change her approach to life.
“It doesn’t seem to bother her in the least,” said Stier.
Maureen knew it was up to her to ensure Maggie continued to life a safe and happy life. So, she made adjustments to their day-to-day
routine. For instance, because Maureen can’t call Maggie when she is out running, she keeps the pup on a leash whenever they’re outside. When she's off-leash in their fenced yard at night, Maureen uses a laser pointer to signal to her that it’s time to come in.
Lack of hearing causes Maggie to get startled easily, so she makes sure Maggie knows when she leaves and when she comes home.
Maggie has also made some light adjustments keep mom in plain sight. “She usually picks a spot on the couch by the door, so she can see when I come in,” she said.
Developing a Stronger Bond
Many potential dog owners worry about adopting a deaf dog because they think the dog will be more difficult to train or that they won’t be able to build a bond with the animal.
Despite Maggie’s disability, Maureen says her dog’s deafness hasn’t hurt their bond.
If anything, it’s made their relationship even stronger.
“I would never not adopt a dog because he or she was deaf,” said Maureen. Successfully working through their challenges proves the strength of the human-animal bond. Not only has Maureen learned how to better communicate with Maggie but Maggie is also at ease knowing her mom is there to help.
“I never have to look for her; she’s always with me,” said Maureen. “She’s very much a snuggler. She sleeps on the bed and likes to be nearby where she feels safe.”
If you want to change a pets life through adoption, visit a PetSmart Charities Adoption Center near you.