'Meant To Be': Deaf Dog Dave Joins Family With a Son Losing His Hearing
There's a perfect family out there for every pet, and Dave the deaf dog is no exception.
Dave, 6 years old and originally named Puppy, came to the Humane Society of Midland County (HSOMC) in Michigan after he was found out on his own, getting into tussles with porcupines. From the moment he arrived, he quickly captured the hearts of shelter volunteers.
"He was a definite staff and volunteer favorite," Casey Nicholson, communication coordinator at HSOMC, tells Daily Paws. "He was super interactive with kids and super gentle—always gentle, sweet, outgoing, and friendly."
Of course, shelter staff and volunteers got to quick work trying to find this adorable pit bull mix a home, and everyone had high hopes going into the shelter's Empty the Shelters summer event, sponsored by the BISSELL Pet Foundation during July. Though more than 29,000 pets across the country found homes during the reduced-fee adoption event, and Dave still hadn't found a home as the month neared its end.
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Luckily, 14-year-old Walker Cousineau saw Dave's photo on Facebook. He knew it was fate.
"[Walker] walked in and said, 'We have to go to Midland, I have a dog there! There's a deaf dog there, and he has to be mine!'" says Mindy Cousineau, Walker's mother.
Walker is on the autism spectrum and has been gradually losing his hearing over the last few years, and his mom could tell how much Dave meant to him. The family agreed to go to the shelter to meet him on the very last day of the event.
"We walked in and Dave went right up to Walker—we knew we weren't leaving without him," Cousineau says.
Since then, Dave has more than made himself at home—Cousineau says his easy adjustment and instant bond with Walker makes it feel like his adoption was meant to be.
"We walked in and it was like Dave had always been there—there was zero transition period. It's like he's always been ours," she says.
Since bringing Dave home, the family quickly learned he already knew all of his cues through sign language, and his need for signed cues has even made Walker, who resisted learning sign language, excited to embrace the non-verbal language.
"Now Walker is all in," Cousineau says. "He's like, 'It's OK to be deaf, my dog's deaf!'" Cousineau adds that Dave knows exactly how to calm Walker down when a behavioral episode strikes—something no pet or person has been able to do quite as successfully before.
The Cousineau family couldn't be happier with its newest addition, and Cousineau encourages people to be open-minded when they are looking to adopt a dog—there are plenty of pups who have love to give who aren't puppies, she says.
Nicholson echoes the sentiment. "People aren't sure when they hear a dog is deaf, and they don't know what to expect," she says. "And with Dave it was like, he's deaf but it's not a big deal. He's a great dog!"
The Cousineaus would certainly agree—in fact, Dave makes such a wonderful addition to the family in part because he's a deaf dog.
"It was meant to be," Cousineau says. "[Walker and Dave] saved each other."