Wizard the white Pit Bull doesn’t just wag his tail when he sees you. He wags his whole body. He cavorts around in an energetic dance of greeting.
His brilliant white coloring makes him stand out in a crowd, as does his exuberant personality but he’s different in another way as well.
Wizard is hearing impaired.
It’s hard to notice at first that he can’t hear because he greets you with such gusto. As you talk to him he responds like any dog who is excited to make a new friend – by licking every part of your face he can reach.
Wizard was a stray, running around in harm’s way in East Atlanta when he was rescued by LifeLine Animal Project after it was reported that someone was shooting at him with a BB gun. One of the veterinarians at LifeLine made the diagnosis that he was almost completely deaf.
Deaf dogs have special needs but are not hard to work with. They just require different techniques. They can be trained to learn commands through sign language. Deaf dogs can be called even if they are facing away from you by stepping hard on the floor to create a vibration or by shining a flashlight near them to get their attention. There are vibrating collars made especially to help train them, sold by the Deaf Dog Education Fund.
The bond between an owner and a deaf dog is often deeper than normal because of the ways they must learn to communicate with each other. A deaf dog will be very in tune with its owner and vice-versa.
“Wizard absolutely loves people,” says Gene Stamey, LifeLine’s Dog House and Rehabilitation Director. Stamey works with Wizard to leash train and socialize the one-and-a-half-year old purebred.
LifeLine embraces the “whole dog” approach and works to bring out the best in their rescued canines. A dog that spends any amount of time at their shelter gets some obedience training.
Volunteers help by walking the dogs and helping with leash training and socialization. Once a week dog training specialists from Frogs to Dogs in Kirkwood come to Avondale Estates to work with LifeLine’s dogs.
“Wizard likes to play ‘patty cake’,” smiles Justin Sparks, the assistant Dog House manager who cares for Wizard daily, “He’s a very paws-on dog.”
Wizard is a young dog, overflowing with affection and energy, so he’s a bit rough and tumble. He’s not the dog for a home with smaller pets or cats. If you love to take walks or have a yard and don’t mind throwing a tennis ball, this dancing white dog could be your new best friend.
Wizard is neutered and has had all his shots. He’s just waiting for that special person to bond with. If you have a home for this good-natured and alert canine companion, contact LifeLine at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out an application at www.atlantapets.org