Dylan on sofa looking at camera

Deaf dalmatian lives life to the full

Trapped in a world of silence, the first 11 months of Dylan’s life must have been a bewildering time.

Oblivious to the fact he was completely deaf, his previous owners were unable to train him – and the poor pup couldn’t understand what was expected of him. He had no idea what was right or wrong.

But more than a year on from arriving at our Tiverton rehoming centre in Devon when his owners could no longer cope, Dylan is now a happy, confident dog living life to the full, despite his disability.

Dylan with Animal Welfare Assistant Jasmine Coles
Animal Welfare Assistant, Jasmine Coles, works on teaching Dylan sign language

As we brought to you in a story at the time, after quickly recognising that Dylan’s issues were down to him being completely deaf, the team at our centre set him on the path to a brilliant future by teaching him sign language.

It enabled him to understand the world that had, up until then, seemed all too overwhelming – and the clever boy made huge progress – learning to sit and lay down – in just one weekend.

In three weeks at the centre, he mastered the basic commands and grew in confidence.

Dylan on the sofa with his new family

And it wasn’t long before his face on our website caught the eye of Jude and Mark Bowers.

They had been contemplating getting a four-legged friend to join their family for a while, but with son Cole now settled into secondary school life, it felt like the right time.

And, having had a deaf dalmatian when she was a child, Jude knew that Dylan was the dog for them.

Dylan giving his paw to owner Jude
Dylan is living life to the full with the Bowers family.

Soon, the family was embarking on the 250-mile round trip from their Berkshire home to meet Dylan and soon brought him home.

At first, he was unsure of many things, so settling him into family life wasn’t without its challenges – but, more than a year on, he’s confident, happy and living life to the full.

Having missed out on so much in his puppyhood, Dylan is still very much a youngster at heart – but his training is continuing well.

Dylan out walking with his family

“He’s just great,” said Mark. “The hand signals are going okay. We just do the basics.”

The family have some complaints, including the number of odd socks that have gone missing since his arrival, but wouldn’t change him for the world.

Dylan has brought them closer together as a family and gives them the excuse they needed to enjoy the great outdoors more than they did before.

Dylan lying on back of sofa with Cole and Mark looking up at him
The Bowers family say that Dylan has enhanced their lives.

“It’s great to get out and about and have a reason to do that. I always used to like to go for walks before but always felt like a bit of an idiot without a dog,” said Jude.

She added: “When he’s calm and lovely, and that’s most of the time, he’s just the best dog in the world.”

Animal Welfare Assistant at Tiverton, Jasmine Coles, who trained Dylan, added: “It’s such a fantastic reminder that if you put the effort and time in, you can get a dog that is truly amazing!

“Although we miss Dylan, we are so happy for him and his family.”

Four common hand signals for deaf dogs

Illustrations of hand signals for deaf dogs

— Page last updated 24/07/2020