‘I don’t think she knew how to be a dog,’ Shelter teaches deaf dog sign language

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AURORA, Neb. – The staff at a Nebraska Humane Society say it can be hard for older or disabled dogs to get adopted.

One 3-year-old pit bull who captured the heart of a volunteer is headed to her forever home with a special family who can relate.

Tracie Pfeifle says Rosie the pit bull faces challenges that other shelter dogs don’t.

She said, “You can get most dogs’ attention by saying their name or making a sound, but she can’t respond to that because she is deaf.”

Pfeifle has been teaching Rosie sign language.

She said, “We started using treats and putting the treat up to your face and saying ‘good girl’ with your thumb up and then she figured out how, that we were communicating with her.”

Pfeifle added, “It was just amazing to watch her just blossom into a dog. I don’t think she knew how to be a dog.”

It was a waiting game for Rosie, waiting for someone willing to learn her new language to come along.

Cindy Koch says she’s always wanted a deaf dog.

She 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.”

The Koch family already knows sign language so learning Rosie’s signs is easy.

She said, “I’m going to teach her my sign language, how deaf people communicate. She’s a smart dog, she can pick up fast.”

Pfeifle said, “It’s what I hoped would eventually happen and it, she couldn’t have gone to a nicer family.”

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