K-9 dogs can be regarded as an elite group of dogs. These dogs are highly trained to help out police officers in fighting crime in the neighborhood. K-9 dogs can also be prepared to do search and rescue missions.
To be qualified in the K-9 training, a dog must meet specific physical attributes: good health, proper stance, and a muscular body built.
However, there’s this one dog who passed the K-9 training, and he is considered as the first-ever deaf dog in the elite team.
Ghost, a pit bull mix, was considered as unadoptable due to his disability. He was abandoned at the Florida shelter and scheduled to be euthanized until Swamp Haven, an animal rescue organization, learned about him.
With the help of Swamp Haven, Ghost was transferred to a better shelter. Later on, the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society in Washington was contacted, hoping that this organization might give Ghost a better opportunity.
Ghost came at the right time! The Olympic Peninsula Human Society has recently started a training program for deaf dogs, and they are willing to include Ghost in the training.
However, transferring Ghost to another facility takes weeks to process. With this, Swamp Haven’s founder Lindsay Kelley and staff get to know Ghost more. They admitted that at first, they had a hard time communicating with him as he was the first deaf dog they took in. Despite the challenges in taking care of Ghost, everybody at the shelter loved him because of his overflowing cuteness and charisma.
When the time for Ghost to be transferred to Washington, 48 volunteers signed up to help with the transport!
The staff at the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society observed that Ghost loves tennis balls. They noticed that Ghost has a penchant for chasing and finding balls, so they thought of an idea to train Ghost using these bouncy toys. Barbara Davenport is Ghost’s trainer. When Barbara met Ghost for the first time, she instantly knew that he would be a useful drug detection dog. Ghost’s disability would help him to be more focused on his work.
With the help of a fellow trainer, Barbara thought of unique hand signals to communicate with Ghost. The particular hand signals will also be used in future training of deaf dogs.
Ghost finished his training with flying colors! He officially became Washington’s first deaf K-9 member.
Ghost loves his job so much. He loves finding drugs in prisons. And yes, during his days off, he still loves playing with tennis balls.
Dogs with disabilities like Ghost can perform well in their jobs too! With proper training and care, they will truly shine and show their best.
Good job, Ghost!
Photo courtesy of Swamp Haven