Written by Claire MacIntosh
Professional photography by Strike a Pose Photography
Adopting a deaf dog comes with its own set of challenges, but there was never any question that Luna would be ours.
A special little white pup
In 2017, I lost my very special Pit Bull Terrier, Chance, after a long battle with cancer. I was devastated and decided that I didn’t want to go through that again.
Then, about four months after losing Chance, I was on holiday with family in Durban when I happened across a post on Facebook about a four-month-old white pup in Cape Town needing a home.
Pit Pals, who specialise in Pit Bulls and other “power breeds”, had posted her story on behalf of the Animal Anti-Cruelty League (AACL) in Bellville as they were having difficulties adopting her out due to the fact that she was deaf. No one wants a “damaged” dog. But that’s not what I saw…
She was just a little white pup in a red collar, all alone in a cage, with no way of hearing what the strangers around her were saying.
I knew that I just had to have her. I also knew that the majority of shelters, especially those dealing with the rehoming of Pit Bulls, don’t home dogs out of province, but I decided to give it a try anyway.
Cape Town to Joburg
I emailed the ladies at Pit Pals asking if there was any possibility that I could adopt her in Johannesburg. They were open to the idea! The only real concern was what would happen if she didn’t fit in?
Fortunately, my family and I had been fostering animals from Animal Ambulance in Pretoria for ages, so I was sure adding Luna to the family would work out just fine.
And so, the process started – many phone calls back and forth between Pit Pals, the AACL and me; checks done; adoption forms filled in and fees paid. I had to wait as my baby had to be sterilised and her flight booked. But I could wait – she was worth it. (By the way, people often comment on Facebook posts saying that they would adopt if only they were closer or if they weren’t on the other side of the country. This goes to show that you should just ask! If there isn’t a suitable home in the same city, some shelters will adopt across the country and, often, the flights are sponsored too.)
Two weeks later, I left work early and met my little Luna Logan at the pet arrivals lounge at Lanseria. Her face had the biggest smile when I took her out of her crate. And so did mine.
Luna was such a happy girl and fit right in as soon as we arrived home. As with all of my other dogs, Luna was enrolled at puppy school and proved to be a really clever girl. She picked up on the hand signals straight away. We spent many months doing lots of socialising and obedience work – and it paid off.
On the 7th of October, Luna passed the evaluation with Top Dogs and officially became a Therapy Dog in Training. Her first probation visit was at the Teddy Bear Clinic, and she was a natural. She just loved the kids, and, as the Top Dogs’ motto says, she brought “smiles for miles”.
For those who aren’t familiar with Top Dogs and the work that they do, please check out their website www.therapytopdogs.co.za
Four years ago, when I took my first therapy dog through probation, it took almost six months to qualify. But my amazing little Luna flew through her probation in a record-breaking three weeks!
She surprised everyone by being as happy and relaxed visiting kids as she is visiting the old folk at the frail care facilities.
People often overlook the deaf ones at shelters as they think they’re damaged. I always tell people: deaf dogs are special! They’re often more focused on you and are then easy to train. They’re not bothered by storms, fireworks or loud noises.
Hey, good looking!
My little lunatic is not only a qualified therapy dog, she’s also a winner in the conformation show arena. The Pit Bull Federation SA must be one of the only dog breed associations in the world that allows sterilised, rescued dogs to compete at shows. In fact, they encourage sterilisation.
Luna attended her first show when she was only seven months old – and she won her class; she won again just after her first birthday.
While part of Luna’s beauty is her snowy colouring, I know that, with her pink skin, cancer is a big worry. But after my experience with Chance and his cancer, Luna is being protected from day one. Sunblock every morning, snazzy pink Doggles when we go out, and, wherever possible, she’s kept out of the sun. And, of course, she’s also on a good pet medical insurance.
At home Luna’s a clown. She chases grasshoppers, races the horses up and down the fence, gets bullied by her Boston Terrier sister, Betty, and is an experienced couch potato. When wanting to go to bed, though, she can be demanding. She “talks” to me and gets quite insistent. Once in bed, she sleeps like the dead! An advantage of being deaf, I guess.
My Luna really has become a shining example of what a Pit Bull (and deaf dogs) can become if given the opportunity, training and love.