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I am a current resident of Texas and as a result I have two mixed breed dogs of the more common Catahoula variety. One is red merle (in appearance at least) with blue eyes who answers exuberantly to the name Heidi. The other is named Kai, and at best guess, appears to be a double merle, as most of her coat is white and the rest is blue merle. One eye is blue and the other is brown, but both have star-burst pupils, and the blue eye has a dropped pupil. She appears to be deaf (at least to the sounds most commonly made by humans) and responds best to exaggerated visual cues, which leads me to think she may also have some difficulty seeing.

When Heidi was 7 weeks old, my boyfriend's stepfather had gotten her from a BYB for free and promptly left her outside. Needless to say, she wasn't happy being outside away from her litter mates in a strange place all alone. I immediately fell in love with her playful antics and bizarrely long attention span. My boyfriend and I began bringing her in as a way to comfort her (we live with his parents while we are going to college). Eventually, she came to see us as family and paid no attention to him, so I persuaded him to let us have the dog. Reluctantly he agreed. However, he went and got another dog - Kai. Kai is about a week older than Heidi.

Much like Heidi, he dumped Kai outside and rarely played with her. At first I tried to stay out of it. However, she'd whimper and cry. So I asked if he'd be interested in crate training her, since he still had the crate from the last dog he tried to train (not sure what happened to any prior dogs). He refused, and instead tried to have the pup sleep in bed with them. Not surprisingly, the little pup urinated in the bed as she was immature and not yet house-trained. In his anger he put the dog outside and "forgot" to feed her. After a week of starvation, her emaciation became obvious. I intervened and started bringing the dog in at night and began feeding her some of Heidi's food. As time went by, I started paying for vaccinations for her, giving her flea treatment (she was anemic from a massive infestation), gave her wormer, and became more and more insistent that he take proper care of the dog. Once more, he took interest in the dog again. However, his expectations were unrealistic and his reprimands were extreme and confusing. Frustrated, he once again began neglecting the dog.

At this point, I made the assumption the dog was abandoned and took her as my own. I had gotten her used to the leash, and along with Heidi, started to socialize her to new surroundings on walks to the park, friend's houses, and PetSmart. After some failed attempts to train her, I started to suspect something wasn't quite right with her. She was extremely intelligent and eager to please, but at times it seemed like she was uncharacteristically "stubborn." Knowing full well that dogs are rarely genuinely stubborn, I decided to test her ability to hear, using Heidi as a more or less control. Even if Kai can hear some things, it became obvious that she couldn't hear my voice, dog whistles, squeaky toys, cars, clapping, and a wide variety of other daily noises. She responded to hand gestures, vibrations, and touch.

Well, the pups are now 4 months old. My boyfriend's stepfather had not once paid for any vaccinations, wormer, flea medications/shampoos, leashes, collars, chew toys, and had only paid for one bag of dog food. I had gotten Heidi spayed, and am currently saving up to have Kai spayed as well (preferably before she's old enough to go into heat). As much as I love Kai, I really can't afford two dogs. I've been talking to a friend of mine about taking on Kai. It's been a slow process, but I am working on a new home for her, but I won't let her go to just anyone and especially not until she's spayed.

Well, that's the back-story to the two dogs I have. I will most likely be inquiring more in other sections of the forum as to the methods of training a deaf dog as I've never trained one before.

Below is a picture of Kai and Heidi.

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