Silence Speaks Volumes
By Justin Skinner
My life's lessons have come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Their world is one of silence, but they have spoken volumes. For the past 7 years, I have shared my life with deaf dogs. They have come from shelters or the streets. The lucky ones came from responsible breeders. Each one has taught me a lesson about what life has to offer.
Rugby, a deaf English Cocker Spaniel, taught me to accept less than the perfect. I watched him arrive in this world as an unconnected soul. Then felt the disappointment of learning of his disability. Time gave me the chance to marvel at the way he adapted to a silent world and became a loving being. He taught me the value of being different.
Faith, a deaf Dalmatian, taught me the value of forgiveness. She came as a terrified dog. Time, patience and space taught her to trust humans. From her, I learned to turn a cheek to those who may be cruel or unkind. I learned that most cruelty is not personal but a lack of moral character in the perpetrator.
Mona, taught me to go forward despite struggles. Mona, a deaf French Bulldog, suffered with a terminal liver malformation. She greeted each morning with a lick and a wag. From her, I learned not to whine about life's small difficulties. I learned that perseverance could over come just about anything. We all have hurdles put in our way. I just look at them as challenges.
Snatch, a deaf Bull Terrier, taught me to enjoy life. An ant crawling across the floor can become the most entertaining event. A burst of frenetic activity, can invigorate the body. The simple touch of a human hand can warm your soul. One should take time everyday, to give thanks for being alive. Life may give you obstacles but there is great pleasure in the process.
Tilly, a deaf Border Collie, taught me there are no disabilities. It's all in the way you approach life. Life is too short and there is too much to do to let life's obstacles slow you down. She goes at everything full speed and with great exuberance. She has taught me to go for what I want and be persistent.
Grace, a deaf Setter, taught me about passion. One should have things that are an integral part of ones soul. I've learned to embrace my passions. Although distractions may get in the way, follow your heart. I have watched the shear delight in Grace's body as she has pointed to a bird.
I have felt my own joy as I finished a computer animation project or sunk the winning basket in a game. Passion is the fuel for life. My friends have come in all shapes and sizes and colors. Some have had fur but most are human. They have all contributed to the person I am. Different is not something to be feared but revered. It is not something to ridiculed but defended. My life lesson may have been silent but I'm proud of who I have become.