Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Introducing Deaf Animal Row

In this ASL vlog, Raychelle introduces the Deaf Animal Row blog and discusses the parallels between the deaf community and deaf animals, and how our indifference can lead to the demise of the deaf community.

English transcription of Raychelle’s vlog by Katherine. The bold is Katherine’s addition to Raychelle’s English transcription of her vlog.

Hello! Welcome to our Deaf Animal Row blog/vlog. It is for deaf animals, who are on deathrow, across the United States. Many of deaf animals are put to sleep due to their inability to hear as a result of people’s ignorance. Often when deaf animals are born -- dogs, cats, ferrets or any other deaf animal -- some people are uncertain how to deal with deaf animals because they are used to aural/oral approach of raising and training an animal. In addition, some people view deaf animals as second class to hearing animals, unfortunately, and feel deaf animals are better off euthanized. Because of their lack of awareness of or exposure to the importance of gestural/visual based approach, deaf animals are set up to fail.

Here’s the definition for each label:

DEATHROW -- A limited time in a shelter before it is put to sleep. No time can be wasted.

RESCUE -- An organization or individual(s) that helps pull out an animal, who is in danger of being put to sleep, from the kill shelter and is safe while trying to look for a foster home or a permanent home.

FOSTER -- An individual offers her/his home to take care of the animal temporarily until adoption.

ADOPT -- An animal found a permanent home.

These labels are how it works with animals. Sometimes it goes from rescue to adopt, skipping foster or from deathrow to adoption. This website uses these labels, including euthanasia. Euthansia happens when no one adopts or rescues the deaf animal from the shelter and it is when the deaf animal will be put to sleep.

Some of you are concerned about how one can get a deaf animal that is not within your area. For example, you are from California and there’s one in Georgia you want to consider, but it is impossible to adopt or foster this deaf animal. Do not fret, there will be some people willing to volunteer their time to help transport the deaf animal from one place to another. This is common in the animal rescue world across the nation, so do not give up and work closely with them. I encourage you to think about it and seek assistance to get a deaf animal from one place to you. It can be worked out if you set your mind to it.

Now, if any one of you have something to share, be it article, stories, information, resources, your experience having a deaf animal, videos, anything you can think of that relates to deaf animals, do not hesitate to send us an email at:

I want you to know that having deaf animals in our lives is wonderful and they are no different than hearing animals except that it is our job to accommodate to their needs. We rely on lights, vibration, use of eyes, touching, etc. It is really amazing. How we, as deaf people, function in ways that differs from our hearing counterparts parallel to that of deaf animals vs. hearing animals.

Someone from the Deaf community mentioned that deaf animals are different and they’re not one of us or part of the Deaf community. I question that and want to discuss a bit about that. Deaf animals and people’s accommodations and experiences are similar when it comes to oppression and how they’re viewed by the hearing society. Deaf animals and deaf people both rely on gesutral and visual communication. We need to be receptive to the fact that deaf animals rely on visual accommodations rather than sound based approach in order to be on par with hearing animals. Deaf animals are indeed members of the Deaf community and are not to be excluded. Who are we to complain about exclusion by hearing society when we impose the same treatment on the very deaf animals?

Last point, do you remember the last time when posted someone’s blog or vlog one month or two months ago about this poem by Lilly Benedict Crisman? See her ASL and English versions below:



  1. That's great way of educating us. thanks for your profound information. Love to have deaf animal.

  2. (Hands waving)

    Good to see you, Raychelle once again!

    I agreed with you all way! If "deaf" can live independent. Then don't grab them then dump them! develop a relationship between two souls.

  3. We have successfully placed deaf animals in homes.

  4. Excellent points! I have a hearing (JRT), I would love to get adopted a deaf (JRT) someday. I want to thank you for information to everyone know that DEAF animals NEED place a home.

  5. You said it all! Perfect!!! I work at SPCA as a part time in New York. There are three Deaf dogs and I am being assigned to work with them. They are champ. They are smart. I train the staff at SPCA how to work with Deaf Dogs. YES!! YES!! Deaf Animal is a member of the Deaf community.

    SPCA rescued my Dog, Rottweiler and I adopted him. He is considered as CODA. He is very Deaf to me. I communicate with him in sign. When I tap on him, and he pays attention to me. He knows that I am Deaf. He comes and taps on me by his paw. He would communicate with me by showing me what he wants. When he barks, he never uses his voice but when it comes to a hearing person, he uses his voice.

    Keep it up good work; animal needs us more than anything. They are very smart. They have their own languages and cultures. Many people think the animal is just a thing. GRR

    By the way, I would like to share with you about a couple day ago. I was outside in my backyard. Deer always visit in my backyard. I saw one of the deer was crippling. I was like sh**! I got to do something. I refused to rest until I know the deer was ok. So I left an apple on the rock. I waited and waited. The deer approached to the apple. I was able to check her legs and to make sure she was ok. In end, she was ok.. WHEW!

    I rescued so many animals like possums, foxes, beavers, rabbits, birds and many more.. Even while I drive, I see animal on the road, I always to stop and to check if they were alive, if they were alive, I would take them to emergency. I have a wonderful wildlife VET. She will do it for free and to work with them. All I need is to bring them to her. When they are recovered, I would take them back and free them in my home. I live in forest. I have a special kind of gloves for wild animal and domestic animal in case if they bite me and their fangs wouldn’t get through my skin. (Just because they are scared to death and don’t know what we would do to them.)


  6. Hallelujah! There is someone out there (DEAF!!!) with a strong passion for the animals that are in need for homes. I'm an avid dog lover (allergic to cats, unfortunately but have the heart for them too), and a fanatic fan of Labrador Retrievers. I own 2. My first died of old age a couple years ago ( :( such a sad day for me). I would rescue a size of a "farm" of Labs if I could, but I live in a tiny house with small yards. Maybe one day...

    I just wanted to thank you, Raychelle, for going out of your way to do this. We need more compassionate people like you to assist those innocent and helpless animals out there (especially the deaf ones). You explained yourself very well! I will forward your vlog/blog to other animal lovers so they can be aware of this as well.

    You also mentioned that we can assist by rescuing/fostering/adopting animals from your area (I'm from California). True...true! But, there are also so many shelters in every state that might have deaf animals that you could save as well.

    Keep up the good work! Many hugs to you from my pups!

  7. Awesome. I like how you explained they compensate their hearing loss like we do! Very interesting. Unfortunately I live in a private condo that does not allow pets. Thanks for sharing.

  8. PLEASE write an article for mainstream media to raise such an awarness about the deaf community at large's willingness to adopt deaf furry creatures within animal shelters, animal advocates and society in general.

    So the society at large will realize about us, deaf people having real desires to adopt and provide deaf furry creatures a decent and warm home.

    That would be really nice for you to have a documentary film project about deaf animals and their similarities to the existence of deaf people. Go for it!

    Contact the Animal Planet tv network and other organizations to pay attention about deaf animals being unnecessarily put to death cuz of their hearing status.

    Robert L. Mason (RLM)
    RLMDEAF blog

  9. aslman, drmzz, jon, mochame, aidan, ocdac:

    thanks for sharing and we need more people like you out there! thank you for your love of animals (deaf or otherwise!)


    i apologize if i wasn't clear in my vlog. this site is for deaf animals ALL OVER the united states on death row, needing adoption, regardless of where you live (or where i live). so if you know of a deaf animal needing adoption, do let us know!!! we will post it right away!

    RLM: yes, a documentary, animal planet, would be fabulous, bringing attention to saving deaf animals. if anyone out there would love to do this, we would be more than happy to help!!!

  10. glad to see u again as always! :)
    ur deaf cat is so damn cute lol
    i had 2 hearing cats-sisters whose passed away last year in other country.
    me and my hubby would like to adopt deaf dog in future. i would love to have chinese crested. once we settle down, we will have it.
    keep vlogs in future :)

  11. Bless you. :)

    "I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being" -Abrham Lincoln

  12. Congratulations on your new blog!!!! i know you will bring lots of awareness to people out there who do not know about deaf animals! This is a great place to hear this information directly from Deaf people! I know many deaf dogs will be saved because of what you have done! Thank you so much for all of your work!
    Lidia,Ludwig,Listo,Lollipop and hearing sisters Lucy and Little Bit!

  13. Thank you thank you thank you from a Deaf person possessed by Deaf dogs and cats as well as hearing animals. Used to have 2 Deaf cats, one Deaf Dalmatian (gone now), now have a Deaf boxer and a Deaf Aussie.
    I joined DDEAF (Deaf Dog Education Action Foundation) which unfortunately fell apart due to mismanagement. There's another organization taking over, but apparently most of the people involved are hearing non-signers. Although they are active out of pity for those"pitiful" animals much like the Quota Clubs, Lion Clubs, and churches...Im rather grateful those people are giving those dogs a chance.
    My heart bleeds (and its practically dried up by now) every time I read or see stories of Deaf animals being killed just because they are Deaf. You know, I heard somewhere that it's how a culture treats and values its animals is how they treat and value their own people.
    If you or others are setting up an organization or system to communicate the availability of Deaf animals, count me in! If I have too many animals (which I do now! a total of 11!), I will do my best to help with the volunteer system...transporting animals, feeding them, possibly rescuing them too.

  14. <3

    Thanks for a great vlog!

    My sister used to have a Deaf cat, but she had to give her away to a cousin. I never heard about that cat again since. Now your vlog got me thinking about my sister's former cat, I want to find out how she is doing.

    I think I want a Deaf puppy, but it has to be small because I also have a mini schnauzer. I am hoping a Deaf dog would help hearing dog to behave better. Have you noticed that? When a hearing dog is paired with a Deaf one, the hearing dog becomes more attentive, obedient and quieter. Very interesting!

    I also want to add something. I noticed hearing cats and dogs DO understand signs! I used to have a hearing cat that knows the sign "milk". My family's dog knows the signs to "eat", "water", "jump", "sit", rollover", "lie down", "walk in circle".. I can't remember what else.. Anyway, I have a new puppy, Pepper, now and, so far, he knows "eat", "bathroom", "sit", "lie down", "rollover", "walk in circle".. My roommate and I are trying to train him more signs and commands. Right now, as I type, here's Pepper!

  15. kira, bug and deaf258,

    hope you all will be owned by deaf critters down the road (or maybe already by now? smile)... they need you!!

    p.s. deaf258: thank you for the introduction to pepper - cute! and yes, hearing pets are just like hearing people who love learning ASL! definitely many CODA pets out there like your pepper!!

    lidia and ella,

    do share your vlogs, pictures and stories about your experience being owned by deaf critters! we'll be happy to post it here (or you can post it on your site and provide a link to this site to help increase awareness & save deaf critters on death row!).

    and ella, yes we would love to have your help on the west coast! i'm in DC and katherine's in PA so the more, the merrier! THANK YOU! you can email your contact information to and if there's a deaf animal on death row needing help on the west coast, we'll get in touch with you!

  16. I have a several questions to ask about SPCA. I would love to get involved with SPCA such as bringing deaf pet(s) to owner. Can you provide me information about that and on about SPCA? It would be helpful to bring awareness to owners that deaf pets needs to be rescued.

    Beautiful Hands

  17. I am an animal lover! I appreciate that you vlogged about real issues on deaf animals. I have a question to ask you. I smiled when I saw your deaf cat meowing on your recent vlog. I wonder if deaf animals make different sounds when they meow or bark? Do they make sounds? or They just use oral method?? I do not know if there is any research on that? Do you know?

  18. Hi, here an idea for your blog:

    Show a page of a big map of the country. On this map, pinpoint the people who are willing to transport the animals and the radius of how far each is willing to drive.

    Where these circles overlap is where the hand-offs can happen. This will make it easier to see how an animal can be moved across the country to the person who will adopt the Deaf pet.

    You can use something like "My Maps" on Google Maps to pinpoint the locations of everyone involved in this transport network and draw a line around each person for how far they are willing to drive.

  19. Hi everyone!

    I am Katherine, the hidden one! :)

    Sorry to be late in responding as
    I didn't have the opportunity to eventhough Raychelle has kept me
    in the loop.

    I'm grateful that we agree to work on setting this blog up as the saying goes, "Two heads are better than one." All of this is done from the heart for the deaf animals. This is my first blog and I'm learning the ropes as I go by with Raychelle's assistance, especially her undying patience!

    As for vlog, I believe I will do that eventually but when it'll be remains to be seen. I'm glad Raychelle is willing to do this. She has already gotten her feet wet in the vlogspere :) As a favor to her, I will do the English transcription to her vlog for the non-signing audience. I'll try for this weekend.

    Jared, we appreciate your effort to try to help. Transportation legs where volunteers pick a day and location they can transport from one certain area to other -- usually up to one hour to one hour half -- are common in the rescue world and it has been done all the times.

    Stay tune for more later.

  20. You are absolutely right! Many animals are killed for being deaf. I have two hearing cats so they are CODA too. They're affected to deaf world.

  21. Katherine and Raychelle, You did a great job on Blog/Vlog about the deaf pets in the shelters need some help. You got it clears out to anyone learn about deaf pets are not handicapped. They are just nomal pets as deaf pets or humans has 4 senses while hearing pets or humans has 5 senses. The missing sense is deaf, but we can communicate with sign hand commands or read body languages. Believe it or not, deaf dogs or cats are smarter than hearing dogs or cats for some reason. I do understand them because I am deaf also I do rescue deaf dogs. See them at or

    If any of you look for a deaf cat or dog to adopt, please email me at through pager or

    Thumbs up for you both, Kath and Raychelle!!!!


  22. Great work, Raychelle! I adopted a deaf dog 2 months ago and he knows 10 signs already! Deaf Dogs Education Action Fund helped fly him to me.
    I am thinking of getting another one for a companion. I will check your blog.

  23. raychelle,

    I am very much interested in working with you and others to rescuedeaf animals I myself have two deaf dogs. I enjoy having them. They live with two other hearing dogs . It is very interesting how they rely on each other for hearing door bell and deaf door bell. It is fun to watch how a deaf dog respond when it sees light flashes Hearing dog would follow deaf dog to the door . when a hearing dog hears the bell it runs to the door naturally with question in deaf dogs mind is to find out by following hearing dog to the door.

    they are wonderful dogs

    Please contact me I want to work with you to rescue and to find homes for them I may want to adopt I like rat or fox terriers I love deaf boxers they are wonderful to be with.

    Please do contact me thanks

  24. Hi Ray!

    Excellent vlog - I'm only sorry I never saw this in the beginning and wasn't aware of this occuring.

    However, I've been watching the pet recalls and the regulator from China being sentenced to death.

    I'd like to pass this on to other animal lovers, even hearing because they may not be aware of this.

    It's good that you already have stated which organizations that they can contact or you on this blog should they come across similar situtation. :)


    I have a hearing cat, but she basically invited herself into our house when she was 3 months old. ;)

    Can't take in any more animals because we have four children!