How old are you?
I will be 2 in May
Where did your name come from?
Asha was the name I was given at the shelter, and mommy and daddy liked it and thought it was unique, so it stuck. We have since learned that it means hope in Hindi.
How did you come to your forever home?
Mommy saw me on petfinder.com and thought I was adorable. Daddy ended up surprising mommy with me for her birthday =) Someone dropped off my entire fur family (mom, dad, and all of my siblings) at the shelter. Luckily, we all ended up finding forever homes =)
I read you have an adopted brother Baen who is deaf, how do you help him?
I help him with his separation anxiety, when he can see me and see that I am fine then he realizes that he is fine. He also follows my lead for clues as to what or how he should react in certain situations. (ex. when he notices that I am barking he barks too)
How did he come to live with you? I was looking online at dogs, I had been wanting another one, but wasn’t seriously looking. I found a picture of Baen with 2 of his brothers and actually went to look at one of his brothers. His brother was adopted before I could get there and Baen was the only one left. He was adorable and I fell in love with him when I saw him.
Was he born deaf?
Yes, as far as I know.
Did you know when you adopted him he was deaf or did you realize it after?
It’s actually a funny story. When I went to go see him he kept running off and we would try to call him back and he wouldn’t come back we had to physically go get him. The first time my fiancé and I took him to Florida to visit our families my mom mentioned she thought he was deaf because he wouldn’t come when you called his name, or ever respond to his name, and Asha and my parent’s dog would react to things that he wouldn’t. When we got back home we took him to the vet and the vet tried different things like clapping and making various noises that Asha would respond to, but Baen paid no attention.
Did you train him with sign language?
We are attempting to. He has learned sit, lay down, no, and to come (when you have his attention). It is still a work in progress. We have also learned that since you can’t call his name to get his attention that we have to stomp to get his attention.
Is there anything you would like to tell others about deaf dogs that they might not know?
They take a little more patience, but they are just as sweet and lovable as any other dog. It has been amazing to watch Baen’s transformation the more we have been able to “communicate” with him.
Asha, do you know hand signals too?
I know some, sit (when I’m not overexcited), high five and shake. Mommy taught me with words and hand signals, so I learned to associate the signals with the “trick.”
How long will it take to get the training/certification to be a therapy dog?
There isn’t a set amount of time, it will take as long as I need to be able to pass the various sections of the test. (which in my case may be a while =) I’m a chihuahua who is protective of my family and likes to bark 😉 ) Mommy is trying to socialize me more to help me become more comfortable being around strangers and in new novel situations.
May I ask what exactly therapy dogs do?
Therapy dogs can serve a variety of purposes, such as visiting patients in nursing homes, hospitals, and schools, or in my case can be used in counseling sessions. Mommy is in school to become a psychologist and wants me to help her work with Veterans.
What are you favorite things to do?
I love chewing things (nylabones, deer antlers, the occasional shoe, squeaky toys, frisbees), eating veggies, I love playing with Baen, “swimming” on the floor, cuddling, going on walks, and traveling to see my grandparents in Florida.
Is there anything else you would like to add about yourself or your family?
Although I get annoyed when Baen can’t hear my warning growls, or realize that he is annoying me, I love him and wouldn’t trade him for anything. Special needs dogs need homes too, and just require a little more attention, so don’t be so quick to overlook an animal because they are a little bit different =)
Author’s Note: Many thanks to Asha, Baen and their mom for letting me ask many questions about them. Pictures were used with permission. Please visit them on their Facebook pages Asha: Therapy Dog in Training and Baen: Living with Special Needs .