Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Does she hear?

So with a deaf dog, the question that is always out there is "does she hear anything at all?" Because she is from a rescue organization, Abbie has never been officially tested for deafness. But there are several informal tests, such as not responding to doors opening and closing, voices, other dogs' warning growls, food falling on the floor, and other little things that hearing dogs react to. And in many ways, deaf dogs are much easier; no worries about thunderstorms or fireworks, for instance.

We've tried different things around the house. Does she hear or feel stomping? What about clapping? The majority of our experiments haven't resulted in anything definite. Was that a sound she reacted to, or just me?

But we've had a couple of experiences in the past few months that lead us to believe that she is not completely deaf (just mostly deaf). On a walk one afternoon, I swear she heard the dog barking inside a house. We walked by and I heard the barking, but did not see any obvious movement, or anything else that might have sparked her attention. But at a particular "woof," she whipped her head around to see what was there.  Then last week, there was a particular sound on TV (I wish I could remember what we were watching) that definitely got to her...she was so startled that she actually leaped off the couch woofing at whatever she had just heard; she was also very suspicious about getting back on the couch. Finally, last night, Remy barked randomly, and Abbie zeroed in on her.

We'll probably never know the full extent of her (non-)hearing, but it is fun to see what she can hear and what she can't.

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