I've had a merled mixed Aussie girl and a black tri Aussie guy, but I wasn't searching specifically for an Australian Shepherd to fill the gap left by the passing of my border mix. A friend recommeneded Petfinder, I filled out the search terms, and started paging through possibilities. That's how I found Matlin-now called Madelyn Snow- in June 2014.
When I saw her photos, I thought she was probably deaf, but that wasn't an issue. I've trained my dogs in the past to hand signals, and I knew from experience that Aussies respond keenly to visual cues. I contacted the rescue group, Speak! for the Unspoken, and filled out an application. After a few email exchanges, we arranged a meeting at an adoption event. I spent the afternoon walking around with this pretty girl and felt we connected. She was no ball of fluff at close to 2 years of age, but nearly an adult who had been found wandering with her brother before being caught and coming to the rescue.
As we got to know each other, Madelyn showed both the traits of a Velcro dog and an independent thinker. She followed me everywhere - even into the shower!- but would settle in a chair in another room if she felt I was not going anywhere.
In the few months we've been together, I've watched her fill out physically and grow intellectually. We took a deaf dog basic obedience course and I discovered Madelyn was willing to please, though sometimes on her terms. The first lesson of "sit" she interpreted as "jump up onto folding chair and get comfortable" while the other dogs sat on the floor. We finished out the course and Madelyn proved to a group of hearing dog owners that she can follow instructions just as well as a dog who listens for commands. She even learned to roll over as an extra curricular activity.
Madelyn and I are now studying Nosework, and hope to be able to start an agility course after that. She's a smart girl and keeping her mind occupied is as important as keeping her physically active. Madelyn is a bit of a clown with a warped sense of humor and that causes me to love her even more.
Don't hesitate to adopt an adult dog. Don't hesitate to adopt a deaf dog.