Deaf Dog Thrives as Therapy Dog After 553 Days in Shelter

The Overlooked Journey of a Deaf Dog

In a heartwarming tale of resilience, Butterfly, a deaf dog who endured an astonishing 553 days in a shelter, has not only found a loving home but has also become a therapy dog, spreading comfort and joy at the Trio Animal Foundation (TAF) in Chicago.

Estimated to be around 5 years old, Butterfly’s journey began when she was discovered as a stray and brought into an open-access shelter. Her arrival revealed a story of challenges—she was 17 pounds overweight and suffered from severe anxiety. Unbeknownst to the shelter, Butterfly was also completely deaf.

Sue Naiden, president of the Trio Animal Foundation, shared with Newsweek, “When people find out that a dog has been at a shelter for such a long duration of time, they assume that something is wrong with them.”

The statistics are staggering, with 6.3 million pets surrendered to U.S. shelters each year, averaging 17,260 per day, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Butterfly’s story sheds light on the efforts to reduce euthanasia rates through adoption campaigns, spaying and neutering programs, and behavior rehabilitation.

Butterfly’s Fortunate Turn: A Deaf Dog’s Resilience

Butterfly’s fortunes took a turn when she found her way to Naiden’s home as a foster in March. The TAF’s therapy dog team, trained to assist shelter dogs, played a vital role in building trust between Butterfly and her caregivers.

“There was something special about Butterfly,” Naiden remarked. In no time, Butterfly joined the therapy dog pack, her gentle demeanor proving perfect for helping other dogs settle and feel more comfortable.

Deaf Dog Thrives as Therapy Dog After 553 Days in Shelter

From her challenging beginnings, Butterfly underwent a remarkable transformation—shedding 17 pounds and learning to understand hand signals, adapting well to a world of silent communication as an officially diagnosed deaf dog.

“We are just in sync with one another. Because of this, I have been able to train Butterfly how to appropriately work with the little dogs,” Naiden explained. In her role as a therapy dog, Butterfly supports smaller dogs struggling with confidence.

“If a little dog is afraid of Butterfly’s size, we know that they would do best in a home with smaller dogs,” said Naiden. Butterfly’s calm demeanor also plays a crucial role in temperament testing larger dogs, as her body language serves as a reliable indicator of trustworthiness.

Remarkably, Butterfly’s inability to hear barking works to her advantage, helping her stay calm in high-stress situations where other dogs may be loud or struggling. “Her staying calm can de-escalate just about any situation,” added Naiden.

Since becoming a therapy dog, Butterfly has been officially adopted by Naiden, solidifying their incredible bond and providing a special deaf dog with the perfect home. Butterfly’s silent transformation stands as a testament to the resilience of shelter animals and the transformative power of love and care.

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