Do you live with lots of fur (pets) or is your house furless? I lived 30 years furless and once I went furfull, I never went back. I grew up in a home where parents fought and I had nobody to console me except my stuffed animals. Kids teased and bullied, but I had nobody to wipe the tears away. Fast-forward to adult life. I inherited my fiancé’s mom's cat as she could not live in her apartment with a cat. I lived alone in a new city and knew few people. I had never experienced the feeling of someone waiting to greet you when you came home until then. About 10 years later, we got our first dog. I LOVE my shih tzu! He follows me adoringly everywhere I go and licks me to death!!
I think about my students who have hearing loss. Learning to talk, sign, or read English is such a struggle at times. Trying to hear and make sense of the world is so tiring. What a great thing if every child with special needs could have a dog or cat to come home to! Think of the therapeutic feeling the child would get by having a pet greet him/her as school was over. Think of how good the child would feel. Dogs and cats don't judge you if you can hear, walk, talk, sign, or learn the same as everyone else. In fact, my dog seems to love me even more when I am down and out sick and not able to move around as much. One of the coolest nonprofits I support and follow is Dogs for the Deaf. Check them out! Deaf people can have dogs trained to hear when people are walking by, knocking on the door, phone is ringing, to keep them safe, to give them friendship. The list of benefits goes on and on.
My mom is still anti-animals, as is my dad. My mom recently moved to assisted living and has come to appreciate us visiting with our little buddy. She is not able to care for a pet, even if she ended up wanting one. However, I do see the smile it brings her. I keep bringing our little guy almost every visit we make.
What do you think- furless or furfull?
Allison Schley has been in the field of deaf and hard of hearing education for 20 years. She founded a nonprofit for families with hearing loss. She most recently wrote a children's book, entitled Forever Friends. This book shows the how a deaf dog and deaf boy teach the world that all kids are good and being deaf is okay.