I had great new experience this week when I interviewed Pearl Roberts, a 2-year-old Great Dane. Pearl lives with her human Mom and Dad, Linda and Ron, and her big brother Finnegan, a Harlequin Great Dane (an one of my pooch buddies).
Pearl is super pretty, tall and long-leggedy, bein’ a Great Dane an all. She’s almost totally white, just a few small black patches on her caboose, and one black eyebrow; an pink skin, including her sniffer (which is all pink ’cept for three black polka dots). She looks kinda magical, ackshully.
Her Mom met me an my assistant at the door, with Pearl right behind and Finn waiting in back. If I didn’t already know (cuz Finn had told me), I wudda never realized that Pearl is Totally Deaf and Blind. Has been since birth. Finn said soft little growly things and did nosebumps and paw pats with Pearl, then Pearl came over, sniffed me an my assistant and gave us some nose bumps, a coupla slurps, an more soft little growly things. She moved very daintily and sniff-sniff-sniffed constantly.
“Good seein’ you, Bonz!” said Finn. “Like we discussed, I’ll be your woof-terpreter. Pearl’s official name is Helen Pearl Keller, an Mom an Dad call me Annie Sullivan. Do you know the story of those two humans?”
“Ever since Pearl first joined our famly (I was around 5 and she was only 15 months), we’ve had a special relationship. I showed her around right away, an it didn’t take her long to map out the house, usin’ Careful Paws an a lotta Nose. After a while, I don’t know ’zackly how it happened, but it just did, we could communicate! And she has no idea she’s what humans call ‘handy-capped.’ She knows she can always count on me cuz I make her feel seCURE, an she’s the best little sis a pooch could ask for.”
We were all three sittin’ right together, an Pearl was real interested in my notebook: every so offen she’d friffle it with her paw or sniffer, and lick the pages.
“Could you tell her I’d like to know how she found you guys,” I asked Finn.
All during the innerview, we’d stop for nosebumps, growly stuff and paw pats. Pearl gave me a frenly nosebump, an Finn began. “Pearl says, ‘I’m happy to tell you my story. It began in Texas. Believe it or not, Mr. Bonzo, there are some humans who want Great Danes with unusual coloring SO MUCH that they do something they should Never Do. They breed two pooches with the same Merle coloring and patterns.’”
“Why’s that bad?” I wondered.
“She says it’s cuz a buncha of puppies in the litter are always deaf an blind an …”
Pearl gave him a liddle slurp on the nose, an he continued, real serious. “She says the bad humans sell the pretty-colored puppies for lotsa money an … an,” he shook his head. “An the blind and deaf puppies get Put To Sleep, unless nice humans find out an rescue ’em.”
I was speechless. Every dog knows about ‘Put To Sleep.’
Finn continued. “Pearl says, ‘I was a lucky dog, cuz humans from a South Florida Great Dane Rescue saved us just in time. They knew Mom an Dad were Big Great Dane Fans so they asked whether they’d consider adopting a pooch who couldn’t hear or see. So Mom, Dad an Finn came down to meet me. A buncha us Great Danes were in a big fenced-in pen with a trailer. I was back by the trailer when I got This Feeling. I followed my Sniffer over to the fence and there was a lady there. It was Mom, which I didn’t know at the time, but I could sense she was a good human and I wasn’t scared at all. I put my paws up on the fence and she patted me and friffled my ears. I’d never felt that comftubble before.
“Then a man with another dog came over with the Rescue Human an asked where the blind an deaf dog was. It was Dad an Finn. Mom an Dad didn’t even REElize the pooch Mom was pattin’ was ME. (Finn knew. He’s amazin.’) So Dad an Finn and me took a liddle Test Walk. An I had a FAMly.
“Finn started takin’ care of me right away. He guided me all over til I knew my way around. He watches over me at the dog park, an lets me flop right up against him when we’re snoozing.”
Pearl began pattin’ an sniffin’ my notebook, an I gave her some liddle nosebumps. “So, what’s homelife like?” I asked Finn.
“Lots of fun!” he said. “Pearl’s a smart, happy liddle sis! When she feels bouncy, she kinda goes crazy on the rug (cuz the tile’s real slippery). Mom calls it Zoomy Time. Her toes can tell by the texture when she accidentally steps on the tile. She can open all the doors, too, could even reach the garage door button to let herself out, so Mom an Dad hadda go High Tech. Mom says Pearl’s like a pack of toddlers. She climbs up on the dining room table in case there’s something yum on it. She ’specially likes milk. An coffee. An butter. An she can be pretty sneaky. One time Mom was lookin’ everywhere for this bran new bag of bagels. Finally she found it. Turns out, Pearl had a Secret Stash, in case she wanted a liddle snack.
“Mom teaches her stuff, sit an lie down an stay, by touch. It’s amazin’! It was sorta hard at first so Mom watched that Helen Keller movie about a zillion times an learned a lot about patience an per-suh-VEER-ence. An love. We have The Best family EVER! Oh, an Pearl wants you to see this.”
It was the pink heart-shaped ID tag on her collar. It said, “I am deaf and blind. I feel with my heart.”
Heading home, I was feeling a lotta stuff with my heart, too.
Till next time,