One Thing Remains the Same


This past week you've read the stories of some pretty special dogs. They come from different backgrounds and have all been through different things as they traveled through life, but one thing remains the same. What do Frankie, Penelope, Lily, Lottie Dot, Dora, Izzy, Astro, Snow, Pilly, and Gouda all have in common?

They are all deaf.

Jo Lynn says you can hardly tell that Frankie is deaf. He has learned to compensate for the loss of hearing and is quick to figure things out. “It's most apparent that he's deaf when you come in the house and he's asleep.” says Jo Lynn. “It takes about 30 seconds then he realizes I'm home and is right there greeting me!”

Penelope came from a breeder and her owners were offered their money back when they discovered she was deaf. They chose not to take the money and to keep Penelope. Shannon said there was never a question she was meant to be with them. While it's hard to tell she's deaf when she's out playing with the other dogs, Shannon says it's obvious when she's asleep and they leave only to return to her still asleep not having known they left. “Sometimes we have to go wake her up when we get home,” says Shannon. “But then she's up and enjoying treats with the other dogs.”

Lily is trained to respond to hand signals; she can come, sit, stay, shake, lie down, roll over, and give you a high five.  She is also trained with a vibrating collar, which is what Alyson uses when they go off leash to the dog park or trail running. If it's dark outside and Alyson wants her to come in she'll flicker the outside lights to signal her to come inside.  "When I wake her up I place my hand in front of her nose, without touching her, so she can gently wake up by smelling my scent instead of being startled awake since she can't hear me," Alyson explains. "She's super smart and many people don't realize she's deaf until I tell them! She also loves to retrieve almost anything out of the pool which gives her an excuse to swim, her favorite."

Patricia Belt founded the TN Safety Spotters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization made up of deaf, rescued Dalmatians, in 2010. It is her goal to help deaf Dalmatians while educating children on fire safety, helping special needs children learn to read, and offering and warm, loving, hug and slobbery puppy kiss to those in hospitals and retirement homes. Irresponsible breeding has led to 30% deafness in Dalmatians in either one or both ears and many breeders still stand by the AKC's Dalmatian Club of America's position on deafness and euthanize pups. Patricia has made it her goal to change the minds of breeders by showing them what these incredible dogs are capable of, and they are certainly capable of some amazing things. Lottie Dot, Dora, Izzy, and Astro hear with their hearts.

Snow helps the other dogs bark at intruders in the yard. Brenda said she thinks she can feel the vibrations of the barks because when the other dogs howl she has a completely different response. "She can't figure out what they're doing when they howl," says Brenda. "She just sits and looks at them and sometimes even checks out the ceiling to see what they're looking at!"

Snow has always been very alert and very in tune with her surroundings. Brenda has wood floors and uses them to get her attention. When she motions for her to come and she is there every time.

spends her days with other special needs dogs including Melanie and Kent's personal deaf EBT mix Toot. There's also Stella, a three-legged dog, and Fiona, a Downs Syndrome Staffie/dogue. Pilly has a very special bond with some of her foster parents. She listens to their hearts since she can't hear with her ears.

Melanie said she figure out Gouda was deaf when she would walk down the kennels giving treats to all the dogs. Everyone would be up bouncing and barking and when she got to Gouda he would be sound asleep, upside down, on his bed.

All of these pups live amazing lives with amazing people who love them and care for them despite their differences. You might think a deaf dog would be more difficult to own or to train and choose not to adopt one. It's my hope that these stories, pictures, and videos will change your mind. These dogs don't know they're different. They go about their days just like everyone else. Loss of hearing doesn't hinder their daily activities like you might think. Dogs communicate through visual cues first and foremost. This makes training much easier than you would expect. Training a deaf dog is an awesome experience, and you have the opportunity to learn so much about dogs and their world.

While most of these dogs have found their forever homes, Pilly and Gouda are still searching for the perfect family. If you're interested in learning more about them please contact the Streetdog Foundation at

To learn more about the TN Safety Spotters visit and

Hollywood Feed is proud to be a part of these dogs' lives. We loves seeing them in the stores and hearing the great stories about how much they enjoyed that last duck foot! We are excited to make a difference in the lives of pets and their owners.

In the end, one thing remains the

If you haven't read the stories about each of these dogs, click here!

To learn more about deafness in dogs, click here!

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  • Billie Claire Darby
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