Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see – Mark Twain
My name is Levi and my story began about 9 years ago.
I was born on February 23, 2006 along with my brother & sister. My sister & I were “different” from our brother because we were both born deaf – a likely side effect of antibiotics our mom got while she was pregnant with us (her owner didn’t realize that she was pregnant at the time).
One day, when I was a couple months old, a family came along and adopted me. They knew that I was deaf and would need special training to behave the way they wanted. Unfortunately they brought me back after only 1 week and said that I was “difficult to train.” 🙁 The breeder (my mom’s owner) posted an advertisement that I was available for adoption and stated that I was considered “special needs” because of my deafness (my brother & sister were already adopted by now)
My (now) mom had another dog the same type as me (I’m a Papillon – it means Butterfly in French) and was looking for a sibling for him so she contacted my breeder. My mom says that she met with the breeder and “after one look at him I knew he was meant to be mine.”
Me & my big brother Ryleigh
My mom contacted a trainer near by who specialized in working with deaf dogs like me and we began training sessions. Since I’m deaf my other senses are heightened so training at the center was difficult & distracting for me – there are so many smells there I just wanted to run around and smell them all! The trainer offered to come to our house and work with my mom and me there. They thought they could get a laser light past me, but I was too quick & always trying to catch it, so they switched to using hand signals instead which my mom says I caught onto really quickly.
My mom also always had a “secret weapon” when training me – my big brother Ryleigh. I watched him all the time and he taught me a lot about what to do and what not to do. I also stick close to my mom and watch her all the time too. My mom said I have been the easiest dog to train – she thinks it’s because of my other senses being more heightened – I think I’m just a genius 😉
My mom did some research when she first got me and found out that deafness is common in white dogs and that a lot of breeders will have the puppies euthanized – especially if they are purebred. My mom and I agree that, while it takes a little more work, deaf dogs can live a normal, happy, carefree life like any other dog – it just takes a little time & patience to get there.
Now I love nothing more than spending time with my family, going on outings – especially to visit the nursing home and our Great Aunt – and I even like going to the vets. Although sometimes riding in the car makes me a little sick – my mom thinks it’s because of my deafness and I get motion sickness.
Me & my Great Aunt
My first year of life was a bit of a rocky road – being sold & returned after 1 week, then getting sick with Kennel Cough for 9 months, but now I’m better, very happy & living a great life with my family. I couldn’t want or ask for anything more and I wouldn’t trade my life for anything!
Recently someone asked my mom about me and this is what she had to say:
“Levi is the most loving, affectionate and gentle natured dog. He is so loved and I could not imagine life without him.”
I think she likes me 🙂