Deaf dog learns sign language after deaf man adopts him

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Adopting a pet is always an act that should be applauded, especially when the animal has been mistreated or has a disability to work with. How do you work with a dog who has challenges hearing? To communicate, deaf people often learn sign language. But, Nick Abbott, who is deaf, not only adopted a deaf dog but is teaching him sign language as well.

Nick was born deaf, so it’s something he has lived with and adapted to all of his life. So, it was an easy decision for him to adopt a dog named Emerson who is also deaf. He saw that Emerson had been discovered on the streets and was having seizures for which he was hospitalized. During his stay, he picked up parvo. Parvo is a viral infection that is often deadly for dogs. But, Emerson beat all odds once again and survived.

It is unclear whether Emerson was born deaf or if it was a result of his misfortunes. Nonetheless, after a visit to the vet, it was determined that he could not hear. Despite how the deafness came about, it was clear that he still deserved to be adopted and find a forever home. That is when North Florida Rescue NFR Maine stepped in and posted help on Facebook. NFR Maine is a rescue for dogs and cats. The organization saves animals from high-kill shelters located in Northwest Florida and places them in loving homes in Maine. The Facebook post explained that Emerson was a 12-week old black lab mix who hasn’t found a loving home yet, like his siblings did, assuming it was because he was deaf.

Nick Abbott saw the cry for help and instantly knew this puppy was for him.  He called the people at NFR Maine and told them that he was also deaf, so he couldn’t wait to bond with Emerson. And, just like that Emerson found his forever home with Nick.

As happy as that sounds, the story doesn’t end there. Nick not only took Emerson in to be his own but also began teaching the pup sign language. No, the dog isn’t spelling out letters to form words but does respond to basic sign language commands. He has taught him how to sit, come, and lie down. Emerson will even bark every time his deaf owner touches his ear lobe. The two were a match made in heaven and even now have an Instagram page where Nick posts updates about the deaf pair and how together they are successfully maneuvering through life without sound.

If there is a lesson to be learned here, it is that everyone and every animal has potential and purpose. Sometimes, the perfect match is right in front of us. It feels good to help out an endangered pup, but for this happy-ending story, it’s hard to tell whether the dog or the owner benefits most.

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