Monday, May 5, 2008

A New Beginning for Ayla (Formerly Rajah)

Hi, remember me???
When Rajah was first posted on here, I had two people, interested in her. Both were in Maryland but one of them, whose daughters fell in love with Rajah and asked their mother if they could adopt her, learned that her landlord told her pets are fine as long as it's not a pit bull when she hasn't told them what kind of dog it is yet and the other's landlord is uncomfortable about having a pit bull. Blame the deed, not breed and I feel sad for all of pit bulls out there, who do not deserve it for the bad reputation some mean people created for them.

Four months or so had passed by since Rajah was dropped off, to make a long story short, Rajah needed to get out of the shelter at PSPCA and into a foster home. Things happen for a reason and a cross-post about Elvy, a deaf pit bull puppy, put me in touch with Rosemary of Faith's Hope, a special needs dog rescue in Philadelphia. Otherwise, I'll never have had a clue about her. I owe Elvy a biscuit!

After getting to know Rosemary, I've found her to be the kind of person who puts animals needs above and beyond what one should do for animals, without the thought of self-benefit. She is someone I want to emulate. She appreciates the experience and knowledge I have with deaf dogs. I told her about Rajah and asked for her help. We agreed to visit the PSPCA and for her to observe Rajah because I trust her expertise. She asked me to show her things I have done with Rajah. She thought Rajah was a wonderful dog, overall speaking.

The next thing I know, we were going on a road trip to Hamburg, Pennsylvania, to Rajah's new foster home. Donna, the foster mom, has 30 years of experience with dog training and lives on a 12 acres of land. During the last weekend of Passover, Rosemary picked up Rajah at the PSPCA, then picked me up and off we went with her two other fosters, Elvy and Asa, in the back. Rajah sat with me in the front all the way.

The scenic view out in the country is breathtaking and a nice break away from the city. There were cows, horses, chickens, goats around on the way and Rajah noticed the horses that she had to position herself, with her wet nose pressed against the window, to be able to see the horses until they are no longer in her sight. She kept moving around, probably uncomfortable, and wouldn't stay still that I decided to put her back on my lap with four paws up like I'm cradling her and petting her, she finally stayed right there the rest of the way to Donna's. She is a lovey-dovey kind of dog and thinks she's a human -- well, in her previous life, she may have been :)

Rosemary introduced me to Donna and Rick. They are good people and truly care about animals. Watching them was enough to convince me that Rajah will be in good hands. What I really like about Donna is she keeps an open mind about learning as deaf dogs is a new experience for her. This is what makes these people the best candidate to be with deaf dogs, be it deaf or hearing person, rather than people who are arrogant and think they know when they really don't.

I showed Donna what Rajah already learned such as sit, lay down, friends, come, stay, off, leave it and gave her some tips. Rajah learned "leave it" for ASL within matters of seconds when I took her to class with me for the 2nd time. What impresses me about Donna is that all on her own, she decided to learn more American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate with her. New ASL vocabularies that Donna has added since Rajah's arrival are "food" and "toilet" and have started using them with her. ASL can be used with deaf dogs and even deaf cats. I have no problem with hand signals and am fine with it if Donna chose it since Rajah already knows some.

It has been for more than a week since Rajah went to her foster home and she continues to do very well there. As I expected, Donna said Rajah is very, very smart and learns quickly even to a point of doing it before she is asked! Rajah and their pit bull puppy, Trex, hit it off and wouldn't stop playing. There's more pictures of them on the very bottom. When Donna signed "sit" that's intended for Rajah, Trex sat! Nevertheless, he understood just like my family's late hearing dog. Below is a picture of Rajah enjoying the flavor of peanut butter.

Human-like sitting and lick cleaning the jar!

Rosemary suggested a new name for Rajah for a new beginning. Besides, Rajah is a male name. A few of us brainstormed different names. It's Donna whose name suggestion that we all liked and agreed on. It's Ayla. Donna explained that Ayla is a very fair little girl from a novel, Clan of the Cave Bear, who was abandoned and nearly killed by a lion and then was raised by a group who used sign language. According to Donna, it also means "moon rose" or "moonlight" in Turkish. Now, I am going to work on coming up a name sign for Ayla so Donna can sign the name to Ayla.

I am grateful Rosemary asked me to come along even though she didn't have to. It was nice to spend quality time with Ayla on the road. Anyone interested in adopting Ayla as she would love to have a home of her own with a great family, go to:

Ayla smiling brightly & lovingly

P.S. The pictures of Ayla on top and bottom are the last pictures I took of her a week before she went to a foster home.

P.S.S. Scroll down for more pictures of Ayla for your own entertainment! Photos made available by Donna.

Oh, Trex, you want to play with me?

Let's begin wrestling, pal!

Aren't I tickling you enough!?!?

Ayla, more playtime, come on!

Let's appreciate the nature that's in front of us, Trex.

Trex has worn me out!

I am taking a deep breath of fresh air...

After a long day, I am resting in my indoor/outdoor kennel


  1. Excellent story!! I have a deaf APBT terrier that I adopted in May after my Mason (White Pittie) passed of cancer. I was interested in Elvy , but he was way far from me. I drove from AL to TX to get Tripp. Did Elvy ever get adopted? I am a rescuer, although not funded.
    Good luck in all you do!

  2. Yes, Elvy did get adopted to a wonderful home if you check the petfinder of Faith's Hope. There's another equally wonderful deaf APBT waiting for a home and her name is Ayla. She is with the same rescue. Thanks for adopting Tripp!