Happy Valentine’s Day from the Unstoppables!
We are excited to share others’ Love Stories with you. Our first love story is of a family who has adopted 2 deaf cattle dogs (Tiberius & Harriet) and a blind pug (Geordi), in addition to their pug mix and kitties. They have a house full of love, antics, and an assortment of experiences.
Their mom, Kristy, took time to talk to us about her first differently-abled adoption, Tiberius.
Hi Kristy! It’s so nice to talk to you about your handsome boy! What is his special trait?
o Tiberius is an Australian Cattle Dog
and he's deaf.
Have you had differently abled pets previously?
o Tiberius was my first disabled pet; since then I adopted another deaf cattle dog and I
just recently adopted a blind pug.
How did you come to adopt Tiberius?
o He was owned by my neighbors, I looked after him while my neighbor was working,
and I fell in love with Tiberius. Fortunately for me and Tiberius my neighbor did not have
the time or interest in exercising or training a dog and most certainly not a deaf one!
One day I decided to ask my neighbor if I could have her dog, and I am fortunate that an
hour later she gave me Tiberius.
How did you go about learning to train him?
o To start with all I really knew was that a tired dog was a good dog. I didn't have a lot of
experience with dogs but I was determined to give Tiberius a good life so we went on
LOTS of walks, played frisbee, and consulted Google to find ways to learn to train my
deaf dog. One of the first things I taught him was to watch me, in my opinion that is by
far the most important thing you can teach a deaf dog. I lucked out and have a food
motivated dog so training him wasn't too complicated.
How have you changed your training style over time?
o I think I am more relaxed now. After Tiberius hit about 2 or 3 years old anything he did
wrong, like rooting through the litter box, became easily corrected with a stern glare. I stil
find that I train my dogs similarly as I did in the beginning, I try to set my dogs up for
success and just try to have reasonable expectations.
What advice would you give other pet parents with similar fur kids?
o A tired dog is a good dog. Follow through with training, do a little every day.
What has been your greatest challenge?
o Tiberius learned to turn around when
I want to get his attention and ask him
to do something, he has outsmarted
me. On a serious note, my current
challenge is learning to train my
newest addition-- the blind pug,
Geordi. I have no experience with
blind dogs so it's my new challenge.
What has been your greatest joy?
o Teaching Tiberius to walk off leash. I moved to the Netherlands with Tiberius and my
other deaf cattle dog, Harriet, and I saw how well trained everyones’ dogs were and it
drove me to want to teach Tiberius better leash manners. I realized that I had to take
away the leash and start over with my then 3 year old boy and in the end I wound up with
a deaf dog who I could safely walk off leash and has pretty nice leash manners.
What would you say to someone who is hesitant to foster or adopt a differently-abled dog?
o With the proper motivation anyone can do it and it's so rewarding to train a differently-
abled dog. I think if you're willing to go on two good walks a day and spend 10-15
minutes working on training once or twice a day you're going to end up with a well-
trained dog that someone else may have just given up on simply because the animal
was missing one of its senses.
What else do you want to share about your experience with differently-abled dogs?
o Once you have one differently-abled dog you'll likely always have one-- they're so
unique and are such a joy to have in your life you may never want to live without one.
Although frustrating, it's also pretty hilarious that Tiberius learned that if he looks away
from me it means he can't "hear me."
It was so much fun spending time with Kristy and her adorable furry family.
We look forward to sharing more stories with you to spread the joy of our differently-able pups!