In 2007, a friend in rescue came to me about a dog, a puppy, really. Helen had been found wandering along the highway at 8 months old. At 11 months she had burned through 2 foster homes. She was going to be put down. My friend asked me if I would be willing to foster her and rehabilitate her. I knew that she was a DM and all I could think was that I wouldn't want someone to give up on me. I agreed to foster her through Spirit of Deaf Dogs. That is where our journey began. When she arrived, she was unruly, at best. Her coat was falling out in chunks, she had had zero training, issues with resource guarding, was fearful, and had been badly mistreated. I began teaching her ASL. There were days that I would sit on the floor with her and cry in frustration and there were days that I'd be working with her and I'd see the light bulb come on and there was nothing more rewarding. Now, she's as fluent in sign language as I am. She's by far smarter than my hearing Aussie. While I was teaching her ASL, I was also rehabilitating her. Lots of behavioral classes and my hearing dog was slowly gaining her trust. I had had her 6 months when I needed to leave for NYC. I had the friend that had brought her to me scheduled to babysit her while I was gone. When I got back into town, my friend had to work, so she dropped Helen off at the Vet where she had originally been left by her previous foster parents. Everything was familiar and comfortable to her or so I thought... I went to the Vet to pick her up and they brought her out and in that moment, I read her mind. She looked defeated, like she had been abandoned again. As soon as she saw me, she ran to me, smiling, with her tail wagging. I realized that the same person had never picked her up before. I called Spirit of Deaf Dogs and I said, "we're done." What she needed was consistency and stability. Enough was enough. I adopted her and I've never looked back. She's a different animal than the one that came to me 7 years ago and I wouldn't change a second of our journey.
- Helen is loved by her family in CO.