This Deaf Dog Got Lucky, But Many Dogs Like Him Are Silently Killed

In Colorado, everyone had pretty much given up on Connor the Dog with his caramel coat and golden, sad eyes. They said that he wasn’t adoptable, but in reality Connor was just misunderstood.

Connor Is a Permanent Puppy

When the Teller County Regional Animal Shelter got their hands on Connor, they were already expecting a handful. Their colleagues had decided that Connor couldn’t be adopted.

Source: Dog Channel

Connor was diagnosed with cerebellar hypoplasia. Basically, his brain never got the chance to fully develop. At first, it might seem fun to have a permanent puppy. But Connor wasn’t as small as a puppy. And remember all of those (not always) fun puppy growing pains?

Pet MD describes cerebellar hypoplasia as a developmental disability that can occur from hereditary or environmental factors. Dogs with the condition can’t do normal dog activities, like climbing or falling, because they lack the ability to make the best decisions. In some extreme cases of cerebellar hypoplasia, dogs can’t even master the basics like eating, grooming or being house trained; they are totally dependent on their guardians.

Connor certainly wasn’t this extreme, but he was definitely on the “rambunctious” side. His never-ending puppyhood kept getting in the way of his adoption. Volunteers worked with him day in and day out with little change. Some brushed him off as an insufferably stubborn dog who chose to live in his own reality. But Connor wasn’t there by choice. It took one special volunteer to realize that it could be something more than sheer stubbornness.

Connor Was So Misunderstood

It turns out, Connor was deaf, and “profoundly deaf” at that. Upon learning this information, a technician at the animal shelter decided to teach Connor sign language. Connor learned and mastered basic commands and it was like he was a new dog.

Because of this newfound communication, Connor had the chance to bond with staff and volunteers at the shelter in new ways. Remember that he was a rambunctious dog, so he didn’t have the filters that other dogs have. But with the commands, Connor learned boundaries, and dogs do actually enjoy those.

Connor was still a special case. But when a local man heard about the story, he had to meet him. It turns out that the local man was also deaf. The instant bond was undeniable, and Connor got his forever home. I’m sure he’ll continue to flourish with the care and education of his new guardian.

Saving Deaf Dogs

Fortunately, Connor’s story isn’t unique. Earlier this year, a deaf pit bull mix named Rosie also got her forever home with a deaf woman. When explaining why she chose Rosie, the dog’s new guardian, Ms. Koch, said: “Because I’m deaf and we want to relate to her, and understand how she feels — want to communicate with her through signing, teach her signing.”

While dogs like Connor and Rosie got their happy endings, many deaf dogs sadly do not. Save Deaf Dogs’ mission is to save these heavily misunderstood dogs from lonely shelter lives and euthanasia. Deaf dogs feel taboo to some because they hurt the breed by passing on hereditary deafness, and they are believed to be more violent without appropriate boundaries. Did you know that 22 percent of Dalmatians, 12 percent of Australian Cattle Dogs, 11 percent of Bull Terriers, 10 percent of English Setters, 10 percent of Jack Russell Terriers, and 41 percent of Catahoula Leopard Dogs will be born with some type of hearing loss, and they will mostly be put to sleep? Despite the way we’ve seen deaf dogs like Connor and Rosie blossom with sign language, the Dalmatian Club of America has a horrific policy that innocent deaf puppies be euthanized, even though poor human breeding practices promote the condition.

Deaf dogs aren’t only for deaf guardians. They need and deserve loving forever homes. All they require is a lot of love and a few special adjustments. Deaf Dog Education Action Fund provides a great resource for basic commands and what to expect when adopting a deaf dog.

Would you adopt a deaf dog or a dog with special needs? Let us know why or why not in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Mike McCune


Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe3 years ago

I am so glad Connor and Rosie found homes where they will be understood.
Thanks for the story!

Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson3 years ago

Just shows even stupid humans can be trained.

Yes, I would adopt a handicapped critter.

Give RK Henry green stars, his critter is the best and like most critters responds to certain stimuli better than other stimuli. It was the best laugh I had all day!!!

Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 years ago

thanks for the article.

Glennis Whitney
Glennis W3 years ago

So glad there was a happy ending to this story. thank you for sharing.

Mark Donners
Mark Donner3 years ago

kill shelters are shelters for murderers.

Roberto Meritoni
Roberto Meritoni4 years ago


Roberto Meritoni
Roberto Meritoni4 years ago


Wendy Harris
Wendy Harris4 years ago

A bit DUMB that it took so long to work out poor Connor's real disability, although usually it's albino animals that suffer deafness. My daughter has two unrelated white Staffies, both totally deaf. They respond beautifully to signing and facial expressions. Fireworks - no problem!

Henriette Matthijssen

Every animal deserve a chance! Life is a God given gift to every being! Respect & protect it as your own is treasured! Deaf animals feel the same as normal ones & still deseve a chance to have a wonderful life in a loving home, it takes someone special to care for them.

LB Lewis
LB Lewis4 years ago

Glad there was a happy ending for these deaf dogs.