Denise Cain: Not disabled, ‘other abled’ | TheUnion.com

Denise Cain: Not disabled, ‘other abled’

A little while back The Union ran an Other Voices guest column in which the author recounted all the dogs he owned over his lifetime. Some had short lives, being run over by cars, some had longer lives and succumbed to cancer.

Then he got a 4-month-old puppy that he realized was deaf. His immediate instinct was to euthanize the puppy, as I guess a dog that can't hear is worthless. Then, thankfully, his vet recommended rescue, and the dog was transferred to a rescue organization who did see the dog's value.

When you have children, you never know what you will get. A healthy child is a blessing, but is then a less than perfect child an automatic burden to be disposed of in the most convenient way? No.

It should be the same with pets. I would like to offer the author one more option: Love the dog anyway. If you can't afford a trainer, there are endless resources on the internet on how to train a deaf dog. Amazon is littered with training devices from special lights for their collars, to vibrators so they know you are signaling them. A dog's hearing is the least important of his senses after his nose (smell) and eyes.

Deaf dogs are just as smart, just as lovable and just as loyal as hearing dogs. In conclusion, the dog was not disabled, he was "other abled." The author needs to rethink his value system.

Denise Cain

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