“You know he can’t hear you, right?”
There’s no way I could count the number of times Tammy said that, or a similar statement, over the past few days.
What started out as a weekend to do things around the house in preparation for Tammy’s family coming down to spend Easter with us, was quickly turned upside down over breakfast.
Tammy and I had finally stopped to eat at the Neighborhood Grill, which was listed as one of “The 10 BEST Breakfast Spots in Mississippi,” and of course I was taking pictures of my food and posting to social media, when I saw we had a Facebook message from a friend, Heather, who has been sick, REALLY sick.
She was asking if we could keep her deaf bulldog, Chubs, for a couple of weeks while she got out of the hospital. Of course we agreed immediately and were heartbroken when she said due to her illness, she had to give up her other dogs to be rescued.
Heather had asked us to keep Chubs and Brutus last Thanksgiving, but plans changed at the last minute and she didn’t need us to watch them. So we were excited at the chance to keep Chubs again. But then Heather messaged back saying she was going to be able to keep Chubs at her mom’s house while she recovered.
Of course we were sad, so we asked what was going to happen to Brutus. When Heather said he was being put up for adoption/rescue as well, Tammy and I immediately asked if it was where we could keep him.
Heather was so excited about the possibility, told us where he was being kept, and said we could bring Savannah to see how they interacted. The only problem was the vet, which was 30 minutes away closed at noon and it was already after 10:30.
Suddenly our plans of hitting Home Depot and Lowe’s didn’t seem so important. We rushed home, grabbed Savannah, and made our way to the vet. I don’t remember much about the drive except for worrying about traffic.
Heather had called the vet and let them know we were coming and within 2 minutes of arriving we were brought back to meet Brutus. We knew instantly that there wouldn’t be a problem as Savannah was more interested in smelling and peeing on as many spots in the play yard as possible. Brutus was so shy and stayed right at the vet attendants feet.
He eventually played with us, and Savannah, although she didn’t stick around long and went to find more spots to mark in the yard.
Brutus was adorable and seemed so small next to Savannah. It didn’t take long for us to agree that we wanted to bring him home.
We went inside the kennels to get Brutus’ belongings and that was the first time I got to see Chubs in person. He looked just like all of his Instagram posts. I reached my fingers through the cage and rubbed his head.
During all of the chaos in the kennels, where dogs were jumping and barking constantly, Chubs sat stoically, only his eyes moved as he watched us. He never barked or changed his position. I wanted to take a picture of him for Heather, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
It broke my heart to carry Brutus past Chubs and all his other brothers and sisters in the kennels waiting to be adopted.
But before we even left the parking lot he had crawled up into Tammy’s lap.
Thoughts of doing things around the house had melted away and all we cared about was spending time with Brutus and making sure Savannah welcomed him.
It was obvious that little Brutus was nervous and scared, so we did everything we could to help make him see that he was going to a loving home.
Saturday night as Brutus slept, Tammy did some research on deaf dogs. One thing she learned is that they tend to follow others, which was something we observed in the backyard with Brutus.
Since our yard isn’t fenced in, we were worried about how he’d be. Turns out he followed us like a shadow, sometimes even bumping into my feet if I stopped. He was so good that we didn’t even put a leash on him Sunday and he never got more than a few feet away.
Sleeping with Brutus was a little different from how it is with Savannah, who sleeps at our feet. Little Brutus curled up right between us and at some point I found myself sharing my pillow with him. Sunday morning he slept in bed with me until 9 — we went to bed at midnight.
Tammy got out of bed Monday morning to take a shower and Brutus decided he’d curl up with me, as in him putting his head directly on my neck, under my chin. I was too tired to make him move. I’ve wanted Savannah to cuddle in bed with me for such a long time, but it’s taking some getting used to now that Brutus is doing it.
Brutus being deaf creates some issues in discipline since he can’t hear the tone of our voices. To counter that we’re trying to teach him some simple sign language gestures — waving out fingers for “NO” and using the same gestures for “COME” or “OUTSIDE.
With some basic reward training he picked up on some of them pretty quickly, which excited both of us. Savannah is so much smarter than we thought she’d be and we are hoping that Brutus will follow in her footsteps.
If the first 48 hours are any indication, it appears Tammy and I may have once again hit the bulldog jackpot.
Tonight when we got home, Tammy said Brutus was full of energy. They went for a walk, Brutus followed Tammy to the garden a couple of times before hanging out with Savannah on the deck. She even worked with Brutus on some reward training and of course Savannah had to come over to show him how it’s done — and get some treats too.
By time I got home Brutus was so comfortable with his surroundings that he pulled a bone out of his kennel and was chewing it in the middle of the floor.
Tonight at dinner, Brutus wanted to jump into Tammy’s chair while she was eating. She gave him the “NO” gesture we’ve been teaching him and he stopped. Then he jumped on the couch and tried to get over to her from there, but once again he stopped when he saw the “NO” gesture from Tammy. He sat on the couch patiently waiting for her to finish.
Now he curled up with Tammy and snoring.
You can follow Chubs on Instagram here.
To see more of Brutus, follow my Instagram here.