A very special dog adoption: A deaf woman adopts a deaf dog that already knows sign language

GRAND ISLAND, Ne. - Tracie Pfeifle says Rosie the pit bull faces challenges that other shelter dogs don't.

"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."

So Pfeifle has been teaching Rosie sign language. "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."

Good girl, sit, down, stay, outside, and walk - basic commands, but Pfeifle says it brought the three-year old out of her shell. "It was just amazing to watch her just blossom into a dog, I don't think she knew how to be a dog."

Then it was a waiting game for Rosie. Waiting for someone willing to learn her new language to come along. Until now.

Cindy Koch says she's always wanted a deaf dog. "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. And they plan to teach her more.

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

It's a bittersweet day for Pfeifle and the shelter. "Keep in touch!"

But they say it's exactly what they wanted for this special dog.

"It's what I hoped would eventually happen and it, she couldn't have gone to a nicer family," Pfeifle says.


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