15 August 2011

Manchester woman teaches deaf dog sign language

Sale, a town located in Greater Manchester, England is home to a very special dog and her patient, loving owner. Snowy, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier was badly mistreated by her former owners. They thought Snowy was just a bad dog that didn't listen, but what they didn't know is that Snowy is deaf.

Four years ago, local Lynne Chapman discovered Snowy at an animal shelter and thought she was just a "pathetic mess" but fell in love with her. When she realized the pooch couldn't hear, she wanted to give her time to get to know her, so she would visit with Snowy and sit outside of her cage.

Lynne became determined to find a means of communication with her new pet.With the help of a family member, Lynne began teaching Snowy simple sign language words such as home, up, bedtime, and of course, food!

"If people who are hard of hearing have to communicate by sign language the there is no reason why a dog can't learn it too and my Snowy has come on leaps and bounds," said Chapman in an interview with the Daily Mail.

One day, Snowy ran off and Lynne went after her calling her name but quickly remembered she couldn't hear her. So Lynne stopped running and so did Snowy. The deaf dog sensed Lynne's immediate halt and turned around to look at her concerned owner. Lynne waved for Snowy to come back to her and she did.
Lynne says since then she has used signs with Snowy and she now knows "no," "come here," and "on my lap" in addition to the previously mentioned words.

According to Lynne, the sign language has really helped and she now lets Snowy run endlessly in their garden to avoid the chance of her running off again. It would be quite difficult to find a dog that is unable to hear you calling their name.

If ever there was a story about patience, this is it. We could all learn a little from Lynne Chapman about patience, assumption, and love.

Laeticia Butler | @Vegwritingmomma
After suffering with health issues for two years, Laeticia became a vegan and was able to go from barely walking to running 5Ks. During her life change she developed a newfound love and respect for animals and works hard to teach her son why we don't eat them. Follow Laeticia on her blog and Facebook.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/gemb1