I had promised Katherine a video of our ASL-Deaf dog Teki, but many incidents came up since our conversation on VP a few months ago. I decided to write this instead and then will post a video of Teki at a later date.
We will soon celebrate our first anniversary with Teki, on December 7th. When we decided to get a dog, we knew we would get a dog from a shelter. We then decided it would be a Deaf dog. The reason for that is that my husband and I are both ASL-Deaf, and our two daughters are ASL-Deaf, so a Deaf dog would fit in beautifully with our family.
We searched for a deaf dog on Deafdogs.org and in the “Special Needs” section of Petfinder.com. We finally found 11-month-old Teki in a shelter in Florida. He had been a stray, so we have no idea where he had been before he arrived at the shelter. After a few weeks of emailing back and forth with the lady from the shelter, she prepared Teki for his flight (yes he experienced flying on a plane successfully) from Florida to Buffalo. Our family was excited about the arrival of our "new baby." My husband drove from our home in Ontario, Canada to Buffalo to pick up the adorable dog we had only seen in a picture.
We named our new Deaf dog Mostekken. I had become fascinated with the definition of Mosdeux from the Mosdeux blog and decided to take “Mos” (meaning Deaf) and searched other languages for a suitable spelling to mean “Sign”. I found “Tekken” which means “Sign” in an online dictionary from the Dutch language. When I put these two words together we liked it, but it was too long to spell, so we shortened it to “Teki.”
When Teki arrived at our home, he had no eye contact with us. He focused mostly on the floor and playing with toys. His first ASL word is, of course, “SIT”. He picked up on it so fast so that we knew he is very intelligent. He learned WALK, BATHROOM, CAR, FOOD, BED that first week. Since then, he has learned many more words. Now, almost one year later, he has eye contact with all of us, and has amazing eyesight! I have lots of stories about Teki, but I will save them until we can tell them in ASL in video.
It’s so much fun to have a Deaf dog, and so easy to train when you already have ASL as your language, and you just teach him the words. If you are considering adopting a dog or even a cat, please remember those deaf dogs and deaf cats sitting and waiting somewhere in a shelter, possibly waiting to die. Please do not waste their lives, simply because they are deaf. Adopt them from DeafAnimalRow or www.deafdogs.org.
Since we got Teki, we have had the desire to get another Deaf dog, but I think we will wait till we have a larger backyard for 2 dogs. One day we shall….