Deaf Shelter Puppy Finds New Life As K-9 Officer

No adopter looked twice at the small white puppy in the NE Florida shelter.  Deaf, untrained and chock-full of boundless puppy energy, ‘Ghost’ was deemed ‘unadoptable’… until a rescue on the other side of the country decided to give the little guy his chance.

Swamp Haven Humane serves rural communities in NE Florida and SE Georgia.  Dogs who are ‘down-on-their-luck’ are very special to the organization, and the shelter goes the extra mile for these residents.

Realizing that Ghost would need an exceptional rescue, one with access to the training tools needed to communicate with a deaf dog, they reached out to a number of animal shelters around the country.  They finally struck gold when Olympic Peninsula Humane Society in Port Angeles agreed to take in their little Ghost.

OPH already had a trainer in mind for the high-energy puppy.  Barb Davenport has been handling dogs since she was 10 years old.  With her extensive experience in transforming ‘unadoptable’ rescue and shelter dogs, including decades of military service as a K-9 handler, OPH knew they had the right person.

Ms. Davenport specializes in dogs like Ghost, molding and encouraging them till they become important members of their communities.  Under her tutelage, more than 450 shelter animals are now trained narcotics dogs.

After meeting Ghost, Barb saw that, “he was very focused and determined to locate his ball when thrown or hidden,” qualities which are intrinsic to K-9 officers.  In Washington state, all of the Department of Corrections K-9’s are shelter rescues.

Barb’s initial instinct about Ghost paid off.  Ghost is now in training as a narcotics detection dog for the DOC, and his lack of hearing is no impediment whatsoever.  After his initial training with Barb, Ghost was transferred to a new handler/forever home.  Together they will serve the Washington state community as their first deaf K-9 team.

For a dog who, once upon a time, didn’t have a ghost of a chance, this tale has a very happy ending.

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Lisa Blanck

Writing articles about animals for more than 22 years, she dove into the rescue world with the onset of Hurricane Katrina. As an outspoken advocate for animals, she's covered everything from paws to hooves, fins to feathers. She was the Orlando Animal Rescue and Worldwide Animal Issues Examiner for seven years. She's always thinking pawsitive, looking for ways to improve the lives of animals. She lives with one dog, one cat and one patient human. She welcomes your suggestions and is thrilled to be part of the family!

1 comment

  1. Sloan Cowart says:

    Wow! Fantastic story and a great ending. Hope to see a follow-up story in Ghost.

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