NE: deaf woman adopts deaf dog who knows sign language

CNN/KHGI
Monday, May 12, 2014 - 1:02pm

The staff at a Nebraska humane society says it can be hard for older or disabled dogs to get adopted.

But one three-year-old pit bull who captured the heart of a volunteer is headed to her new home with a very special family who can relate.

Both the dog and her new human are deaf.

Tracie Pfeifle says Rosie the pit bull faces challenges that other shelter dogs don't: "You can get most dogs' attention by saying their name or making a sound, but she can't respond to that because she is deaf."

So Tracie has been teaching Rosie sign language.

"We started using treats and putting the treat up to your face and saying 'good girl' with your thumb up and then she figured out how, that we were communicating with her," Tracie explained.

Good girl, sit, down, stay, outside, and walk - basic commands, but Tracie says it brought the three-year old out of her shell.

"It was just amazing to watch her just blossom into a dog, I don't think she knew how to be a dog," Tracie said.

Then it was a waiting game for Rosie, waiting for someone willing to learn her new language to come along, until now.

Cindy Koch says she's always wanted a deaf dog.

"Because I'm deaf and we want to relate to her, and understand how she feels - want to communicate with her through signing, teach her signing," Cindy said.

The Koch family already knows sign language, so learning Rosie’s signs are easy.

And they plan to teach her more.

“I'm going to teach her my sign language, how deaf people communicate, she's a smart dog, she can pick up fast,” Cindy told CNN affiliate KHGI-TV.

It’s a bittersweet day for Tracie and the shelter, "Keep in touch!" she tells Cindy.

But they say it's exactly what they wanted for this special dog.

"It's what I hoped would eventually happen and it, she couldn't have gone to a nicer family," Tracie said.

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