I had a post last week about our doggin, Chase, but we have another doggin we call family: Chevy. Now that’s Chevy as in Chevy Chase, not Chevrolet. We were trying to be witty. It didn’t really work – I’ll tell you a little later why. This year she turned two and I can’t wait for her to turn three and hope that some of the “puppy” dissipates. If you met her, you’d understand. Don’t judge me.
So after we finally made in back home to Derby City, the hubs was pressing for another dog “to keep Chase company.” Sounded like a good idea at the time but we have since learned that Chase would have preferred this to be a one dog house. She’ll hopefully get over it eventually. The guidelines were that we needed a house with a fenced yard. That got checked off the list pretty quickly. The other guideline was not to purchase the first puppy we fell in love with; I wanted there to be a “connection” and not just be puppy-smitten. We visited the local Humane Society and a few pet stores that offered adoptions and nothing was calling our name. And then we saw her.
She had been at the store for less than an hour. She was black and white like our Chase and her card said she was an Australian Shepherd mix. The hubs was in love. So we brought “Lacy” home. And promptly started thinking of other names. I was pushing for Freckles because of the spots on her nose (and being a fan of Lost I thought that would be cool) but the hubs said the spots might disappear. (Note: The spots have not disappeared.) We settled on Chevy. It made Chase’s name even better and I could not wait to call their names out the backdoor. “Chevy, Chase [whistle, whistle] come in!!” But after having our new puppy for two weeks we began to speculate something wasn’t right. Yep, she was deaf.
Now, we had a deaf ferret at one point and knew how to check for animal deafness. But the vet confirmed our hypothesis by clapping his hands loudly behind her head without a reaction. “Yeah, she’s deaf alright. You know how long it’s been since I seen a deaf puppy? Something like 10 years. Yeah, you don’t see this too often.” Lucky us. Our parents say that this means we can have one perfectly healthy child but then need to stop as the second will be deaf. Because our second ferret was deaf too. Thanks guys. Too bad they ignore the “we don’t want children” coming out of our mouths. Just like parents. Anyway…
So yes, Chevy is deaf. That means she cannot hear her awesome name. Nor can she hear anything else. So we began training with hand signals. I hadn’t realized it until then that I had used my hands along with most of the verbal commands I used for Chase. Made making things up much easier. Chevy knows six hand signal commands for sure – I think she knows the others we practice but chooses to ignore them unless she’s feeling groovy. My favorite is “go outside.” And she knows it!
So while we’ve had difficulties with training because she cannot hear, Chevy overall is a great dog. She loves to play fetch and I was able to teach her to catch the frisbee as well; she just tears them to smithereens faster than you can spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. She’s absolutely horrible on a lead or in the car though it’s not because she’s scared., it’s because she’s excited. If you heard this dog “excited” you’d think I was beating her to death with a morning star, it sounds that terrible. I’ll try to catch some audio of it so I can torture the internet. But she’s a good bug hunter. And good at keeping me warm. And good at keeping the kitchen floor clean. And good at hogging the bed. And really good at sleeping.
I’ve never met a dog that sleeps as much as her. On the weekends, she takes naps all day long. On my bed. I don’t know why, it’s not like the sound of the TV bothers her or anything. She just prefers the bed. I wish she didn’t but I’m usually too lazy to peel myself from the couch and hunt her down.
After we learned about her deafness, we seriously considered locating a rescue for deaf dogs. But that face and those spots and her ears… we couldn’t let go. And I’m glad we didn’t. She drives Chase up a wall at least 30 minutes everyday but she’s one of the fam now. She’s the peanut butter to the jelly, the macaroni to the cheese, the Chevy to the Chase. She’s the BDD: Big Deaf Dog.
And I’ll keep her around as long as she doesn’t keep turning her back to me when I sign for her to come in. You have no idea how much that drives me nuts. I’ve ruined shoes tramping through the mud to drag her in. I swear, sometimes it feels like Chase is the only living thing in this house that pays attention to me.