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Date: Thu, 7 Jan 1999
A Canine Dilemma
Does a hearing dog know a companion deaf dog is deaf?
A definite yes to this question--they can know and
work with another dog's
deafness. My mother had a Basset and a Border Collie (actually, she had two
Bassets at the time, but the second doesn't figure here). Buford, the
Basset, was about eight when he lost his hearing. Merlin, the Border
Collie, was quite young--maybe three or so. It was Buford's duty to bark at
the garbage collectors, but he soon lost track of their arrival after his
This put poor Merlin in a terrible state. Like many Border Collies, he was
capable of barking, but just wouldn't do it except in very extraordinary
circumstances. Every effort was made to overcome this because he had an
acting career. Eventually his acting coach/handler taught him to mouth a
bark and then they'd dub a recording of another dog in during
post-production. At any rate, he could hear the garbage men arrive, he knew
the alarm should be sounded, but he wasn't about to do the barking himself.
Instead, he'd nudge Buford awake and mouth a silent bark as he'd been taught on the film
sets. Buford took the cue and raised the alarm.
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