Adopting any rescue dog is a commitment, but taking in a deaf dog is a very special, and sometimes intensive, labor of love that thousands of people choose to take on each year.
One of those people is Christina Lee, who, in addition to adopting her own deaf dogs, runs a Virginia-based nonprofit called Deaf Dogs Rock dedicated to listing deaf dogs available for adoption all over the United States. Since 2011, she’s helped rescue over 1,400 of them.
In 2014 alone, the couple sponsored 45 deaf dogs in collaboration with other rescues who advocate for deaf dogs.
Along with her husband—whose name is also named Chris—Lee runs the site full-time, offering resources and financial aid to prospective parents who have big hearts and big hopes for a special needs dog to call their own.
After adopting her own deaf dog, Nitro, she realized that if more deaf dogs are to be adopted, prospective puppy parents are going to need some more guidance.
“We stayed up until 1:00am reading and watching videos on deaf dog training, because we both wanted to be fully prepared for what would be the best way to train our new special needs puppy,” she said.
“What we discovered in doing research about deaf dogs is that there is not a whole lot of resources out there for new owners of deaf dogs.”
Though she doesn’t take a salary, Lee treats this as her full time job, transporting deaf dogs into rescue, pay medical bills for deaf dogs and pups, and in some special cases, help pay for training classes for new deaf dog owners.
“When a deaf dog is off leash, you can’t just call the dog back like a regular hearing dog,” she said. “We try to promote deaf dog training on our website so new deaf dog owners can see it isn’t that much different, training a deaf dog verses a hearing dog.”
When she started getting emails from shelters across the U.S., Christina and Chris began to help transport the deaf dogs into no-kill shelters and foster homes. During the winter, she and Chris conduct shelter outreach, helping out local shelters with dog food and coats to keep them warm.
Deaf Dogs Rock also provides a welcoming Facebook Community where deaf dog owners can go to help each other. And, this year, the site has a new section called List A Deaf Dog, which allows people to directly submit dogs who need good homes.
“The bond deaf dogs develop with their family members is a very strong bond, and owning a deaf dog makes us better dog parents,” Lee said. “Deaf Dogs Rock is because they hear with their hearts.”
Photos courtesy of Deaf Dogs Rock
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