Pets are amazing in so many ways, and one really remarkable way is how they handle a disability like deafness. Though cats and dogs who aren’t deaf use their excellent ability to hear sounds to interact with the world, including humans and other pets, partial or fully deaf pets use their other senses to make up for the one that they are missing! You can search for special needs dogs or cats that need homes near you by clicking the “Has Special Needs” check box on our Search Dogs and Search Cats pages.
Sight, smell, taste, and touch including feeling vibrations often take over and make it almost impossible to tell a pet is deaf, except by their non-reaction to sounds that occur without any other cues. For example, a fully deaf dog wouldn’t hear their person whistling for them to recall, but they can be taught a hand signal to come running just like a dog with full hearing would. Understanding their limitations (like a deaf dog shouldn’t be off-leash in a non-fenced in area) and the work-arounds allows deaf pets’ owners to enjoy full and happy lives together.
People that adopt pets with special needs like deafness often say that their pets don’t just have special needs, but are special pets in the most positive of ways! It might be because deaf pets often pay more attention to what they see, smell, taste and feel, which puts them more in tune with their immediate surroundings, including their human family.