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Billy, along with many white pit bulls, is deaf -- and that doesn't bother his world at all -- !!


Billy is a white, deaf pit bull.

White bully breeds are often deaf genetically, and for some new owners, their surprise in finding this presents a challenge --

-- "Should we keep the dog? Are we equipped to train such a dog? WHat does she need differently?"


Well, Billy is also at home with his newest sister, Kate, adopted from SPBR in Spring 2005. Her story is here.

Meredith and Ian are the parents of Kate, Billy and their new baby, and are also great owners. I asked Meredith to share her experiences with Billy, which she does below --

-- first off, here is little Kate, at 8 months, having come MILES from the NYC shelter, and from being the runt of her world -- !!

Okay, on to Meredith --

"My husband, Ian and I, adopted Billy 10 years ago from a local shelter.  We were aware that he was completely deaf and had been that way since birth.  Billy is half dalmatian and half pit.  He was about 9 months old when we adopted him and the fact that he was deaf was one of the reasons that we had to have him.  He'd been at the shelter for some time at that point because of his apparent handicap.  We immediately enrolled him in a puppy training class at our local Petco store."

"The trainer said that it did not matter that he was deaf and the other dogs were hearing because she would teach us "sign language" to work with him while she taught everyone else verbal commands.  The hand signals that we used for Billy were very simple and few.

We were able to teach him sit, down, stay and come.  We combined the hand signal training along with very small training treats (small dog cookies or liver treats) and he took to it all very quickly. "

"Over the years we've slightly modified the original signs and have just come to have our own language with him.   The thing about working with a deaf dog is that you have to get their attention.  Which means going to get them when you want to work with them (because you can't call them) and keeping yourself in their line of vision."

"Billy quickly developed a sense of awareness and most often lounges around and stays in whatever room Ian and I are in.  If he's sleeping, he randomly opens one eye to check and see if we're still in the room and if we're not he usually gets up to come find us. "

"The other thing that is major - more so than anything else in my opinion - is that deaf dogs must always, always be on leash.  We are extremely lucky when we bought our house years ago that it had a large yard that was already fenced in.  If you don't have this luxury you have to be hyper-vigilant about open doors and most especially when people come to visit you."

"Billy has gotten out of our grasp/house about 4 times in 10 years and it is the most frightening feeling because there is nothing we can do to get him except physically catching him.  He obviously can't hear cars and he can't hear us calling him.  But, you get into a routine quickly about being super observant about doors and visitors and that part of having a deaf animal becomes easy to manage."

"Early on Billy would startle easily when we'd come home and wake him up but the longer he was with us and as he aged he became much more calm.    I would suggest checking in your area for puppy training classes and see if they can accommodate a deaf animal.    I also found these websites and books that seem to have some good information: "

"Billy has been a 10 year blessing on our family and we're thrilled to have another pit puppy (Kate - adopted last May) for him to hang out with.  Kate is a hearing dog and we're finding it both a challenge and a joy to have them both. 

Our 15 month old daughter is in love with them both and finds them hilarious."

Well, the world definitely needs more people like Meredith and Ian, that's for sure --

-- what a great experience they give Billy, and Billy blesses them with his love and living -- !!

So, if you're driving through rural Massachusetts, you may see a content, white pit bull gazing at you out the window -- how will you know if it's Billy?

Ian writes --

"Billy loves to grab shoes randomly and move them around the house. He never damages them, but sometimes it's impossible to find a complete pair of shoes!!

Here's a shot of Billy looking out his favorite window with one of my wife's shoes!

Great work, all, especially Billy --

-- we'll keep your little shoe-fetish a secret, that is, if you keep being a little ambassador for the breed, and being a showcase of how a common "disability" can be responsibly and easily managed --

-- something tells me Billy will keep up with his end of the deal -- !!