Deaf Woman Teaches Her Newly Adopted Deaf Dog The Sign For 'I Love You'
"I told myself I must get her and give her a good life."
As a Deaf person - capital D intended - Amanda Geffen is aware that some people think she needs extra help. Some even pity her. "They don't realize that I can do as many things as hearing people but just can't hear," she tells The Dodo.
Geffen recently learned about a 7-month-old dog named Mika who'd lost her home. Mika's family gave her up to a shelter, saying they didn't want a dog who couldn't hear.
Geffen - who'd always wanted to adopt a Deaf dog - knew she'd found her pup.
"I told myself I must get her and give her a good life," she says.
Mika was adopted through the New York–based Anarchy Animal Rescue, which often cares for special needs animals.
A couple of months ago, the group had taken in a couple of puppies who'd been found as strays, and couldn't see or hear, from a busy Arkansas shelter.
Then they got a call from the same shelter about Mika.
As someone who works as a professional Sign Language interpreter, Jesie Stephenson - one of three women who runs Anarchy Animal Rescue on a volunteer basis, and a friend of Geffen's - had a special soft spot for the young dog.
"We decided to take her in because her chances of being adopted in that rural area were very slim, and because we know there is absolutely nothing wrong with a deaf dog," she tells The Dodo. "It was a no-brainer."
Stephenson hopes that learning about Mika will help folks see beyond their misconceptions and stereotypes about Deaf dogs.
You may have to learn some new methods for communicating - waving your hand to get the dog's attention instead of calling her name, for example - but "here is no need for people to pity or feel sorry for them. They will live completely full and active lives," she says. "Just like deaf people."
Mika has been home with Geffen for about a week now.
She loves to chew things, walk, nap and be around people. Geffen describes her dog as very affectionate and playful, and "very intelligent."
Mika knew no signs when she arrived at Geffen's home, and seemed frustrated that she wasn't able to communicate. She is learning very quickly.
Some of the signs that Geffen has taught Mika include sit, shake, stay and lie down. She's also learned some less functional, more touching signs, like the ones for "I love you" and "mommy."
"We understand each other's emotions and feelings," Geffen says. "I love her so much."