Fate changed for deaf puppy
Born unable to hear a sound, Pickle must have been so overwhelmed and confused by the world.
By the time the puppy was just three months old, he found himself in Blue Cross care, having already known two homes.
His previous owners, who were unaware that the collie cross lurcher was completely deaf when they bought him from a breeder, wanted to keep him but the other pets in their home sadly rejected poor Pickle.
Desperate to ensure he was safe and would have the bright future he so very deserved, they brought him to our Southampton rehoming centre.
Pickle had already missed out on so much in his short little life due to his disability, so it was crucial to place him in foster care for him to learn and develop in a home environment.
The team didn’t need to look far – as Animal Welfare Assistant, Kimberley Simpson, stepped in.
Kim says: “I began to train and encourage Pickle, not with voice cues, but with hand signals. Like a thumbs up to give him praise. Or communicating ‘stay’ by holding my palms in a certain position.
“Pickle responded incredibly well. Over the next few weeks, this sweet boy grew in confidence. With special training, he learned how to cope with the outside world.
“He became more alert and enthusiastic. After the difficult start he had in life, it was wonderful to see him so relaxed and happy.”
Clever Pickle proved to be a fast learner and it wasn’t long before he was ready for adoption, finding the perfect home with Cathie and Graham Dyne in rural Devon.
Having just lost their beloved dog, Snoopy, Pickle helped them fill the canine void in their lives.
Cathie says: “He is settling really well and we are readjusting to having a lively puppy after losing our 17-year-old collie just before we found Pickle.
“He's very rarely still, apart from when he's asleep.”
Routine has been the focus since welcoming Pickle home in June. He has his own cosy room, with naps and meals taken at the same time each day to prevent overtiredness and hunger, which can set back training.
Graham says: “It’s as much about us getting used to him, as it is him getting used to us. We’re training each other, really.”
Pickle continues to come on leaps and bounds and loves his twice-daily walks around the local countryside. He’s also enjoyed trips to the beach and has even impressed the judges at his local dog show, coming third in both the best puppy and best rescue categories.
And, such is the strength of their bond, Cathie has recently begun to trust Pickle off lead.
She says: “I've just started having him completely off lead on our local walk and he's been so good, constantly checking in with me when called [waved at], or of his own accord. Today he had two people and two dogs approaching but when I asked him to follow me, he did.”
While he does remain a mischievous puppy at times – one of his favourite pastimes is running off with the laundry – Cathie and Graham couldn’t love him anymore.
“He’s a little treasure,” says Cathie. “He’s lovely first thing in the morning, especially.
“If he’s asleep and you open the door and just start doing things, he wakes up quite soon after – I don’t know if he can sense you and smell you.
“And you look in, and he’s got this real sleepy face and his ears are still floppy and look like the blood hasn’t got to them yet. He’s so cuddly, you’ll kneel beside him and he wraps his front legs around your arm and it’s like he’s hugging you back.”
Cathie and Graham have found bringing Pickle up to be a confident and – mostly – well-mannered pup has brought great rewards.
“People say we’ve done brilliantly, but to be honest, much of it is due to Blue Cross,” Cathie says.
Pickle is now looking forward to his first Christmas and one that – thanks to Blue Cross and his new family – he’ll be spending in a warm and loving home.
Although they expect celebrations to be a little chaotic with all the new sights and fun it will bring for their excitable pup, Cathie and Graham wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’ll be lovely. We’ll have a very family orientated Christmas Day,” adds Graham.