A puppy was having a very hard time finding a forever home. He was abandoned five times as they called him “stupid” and “dumb” – but all he needed was for someone to look a little closer.
Ivor is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy who just wanted a home to call his own. Unfortunately, what he got instead was nearly a year full of confusion. For the first seven months of Ivor’s life, the poor pup was bounced around to a number of dog shelters and had five different owners in less than a year.
The story played out the same way every time a home tried to take Ivor in. The dog was misbehaved, and he wouldn’t follow commands. Just as he started to settle in, he was abandoned again, spending much of his early months in and out of the dog shelter. It seemed not a single family wanted Ivor as people claimed, “There’s something wrong with him!” The “bad dog” just wouldn’t listen.
When Ivor entered the UK’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) system for the fifth time, having lost his fifth family in just 7 months, the shelter grew suspicious. Perhaps there was a problem they had missed. So, they decided to investigate more closely why nobody wanted Ivor.
Everyone who had owned Ivor had similar complaints. The dog was loud and wouldn’t stop barking, and they simply couldn’t understand why the dog behaved so strangely. Soon, the shelter realized exactly what was wrong and what was keeping Ivor from transitioning smoothly to a home — and the reason, which everyone had missed until that point, was heartbreaking.
Volunteers at the shelter decided to run some tests, realizing that some conditions might easily go unnoticed by a breeder with several puppies. With one simple assessment of the dog’s hearing, everyone realized right away why Ivor was having problems listening to his new owners. Ivor couldn’t hear anything. Ivor was a deaf dog.
It’s easy to understand how, since they hadn’t known Ivor was deaf, the previous owners couldn’t grasp why he didn’t obey commands like other dogs. Luckily, the animal lovers at the shelter knew just what to do, and they immediately began to learn sign language to communicate with Ivor, the deaf dog.
It turned out that the “stupid” dog was actually quite smart as Ivor caught on quickly to sign language. In no time at all, the volunteers introduced Ivor to many basic commands, which he followed like a champ, finally understanding what was being asked of him. Soon, he was once again ready for adoption. Enter Ellie Bromilow. It was love at first sight and an instant connection between Ivor and Ellie, who would become Ivor’s new loving owner when Ellie adopted Ivor into her home.
Although the RSPCA had already taught Ivor many commands, Ellie was determined to continue making progress, and she pushed Ivor and his education even further since she wanted to help him discover everything he had missed out on in other homes. “He’d already learned the sign command for ‘sit’ and ‘come’ from the staff at the RSPCA center, but now he knows lots more like ‘lie down,’ ‘stay,’ ‘all gone,’ and he’s learning ‘roll over,'” Ellie explained, according to the Metro. She also said that because of his disability, Ivor’s sense of smell, sight, and touch are greatly enhanced. Ivor especially likes to use his sharp nose to hunt down treats Ellie hides around the house for him.
That “dumb dog” has his own strengths and just needed to learn about the world in his own unique way. While other dogs may miss things, his eyes are trained to observe everything. Even when he sleeps, he sees all, feeling the vibration of doors and footsteps and sniffing a piece of ham from a mile away.
Ivor loves creeping into bed and relaxing after a day of adventures and long walks with Ellie. He also loves communicating with her, which is understandable since it is something he never had the chance to do before. Could you imagine not being able to “talk” to others, then finally finding one person you can communicate with easily? It must be wonderful for the pup, who isn’t all that different than other dogs after all, according to Ellie.
“Having a deaf dog is just like having a hearing dog. We still speak to him as we sign and I chat to him a lot – even though he can’t hear a word,” Ellie said, adding that Ivor watches everything and knows when people are trying to speak with him. Although living with a deaf dog can certainly pose its problems that you wouldn’t have if the dog could hear, it seems Ellie has everything under control and has all the tools necessary to take care of Ivor.
It’s amazing that a dog so many people thought was just horrible turned out to be a wonderful pet for the right person. All it took was a few kindhearted and patient people who decided to figure out what was making the pup “act out” in an undesirable way. Maybe we can all learn a lesson here about taking the time to understand someone else and what they are going through, whether that “someone” is a dog or a human. Everyone, dogs included, deserves a chance, so it’s nice to have a story with a happy ending.