WEB EXCLUSIVE: Deaf dog learns sign language - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Deaf dog learns sign language

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GRAND ISLAND, Nebraska (WKOW) -- It's a rare problem for one Nebraska animal shelter: trying to communicate with two deaf dogs. But now one of them is learning sign language!

"Now sit. Good girl."

One sign at a time.

"Then we'll go outside."

Four-year-old Rosie is learning to connect. "It's the only way to communicate with her."

Animal advocates say that impairment could increase a deaf dog's odds of having a tough life. "They could be set up for abuse or neglect because they don't know how to interact and if they do interact, it's not appropriate," says Laura Dethloff, the Executive Director of the Central Nebraska Humane Society.

But with every sign, volunteers say Rosie is becoming more socialized. "You not only see the volunteer being excited about being able to communicate with, but her being able to understand, oh this is what you want and being able to do it."

But there's another deaf dog at the same shelter, and his help is coming from another canine. "Noah is a very high energy, nine month old that can't hear, so it's very easy for him to tune you out. Noah and Saint's relationship is unique. They don't get along with anybody but each other."

The two are separated right now as Saint recovers from being neutered. but when it comes to finding them a home, the shelter wants them together. "It's going to be behaviorally and emotionally a lot more stable for both of them to have each other to learn off of."

And when they learn to interact, volunteer Tracie Pfeifle says their owners will have something special. "I think they're more sensitive to how you're feeling. A lot of people don't know they have a deaf dog, when they figure it out, all of the sudden you find out you have this really amazing animal."

All of the dogs are available for adoption at the Central Nebraska Humane Society. If you're interested in adopting one, the humane society will teach you the signs to interact.

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