The story of Faith first starts with my first dog Brandy. We always had dogs growing up, but Brandy was the first dog who was MY dog. I got her when I was 13 and she was my best bud (and my responsibility). We had many fun years, that carried on when I left home as an adult. So it was no surprise that when she died, a whole was left in my heart.
After she was gone, I figured I’d hold off on getting another dog for a while. But after a few weeks, I couldn’t bear the loneliness anymore – I decided it was time to bring another dog into my life. My family had always adopted dogs from the shelter, so I’d never had a pure bred dog and therefore wanted to consider that option. I did some research, and after learning about many breeds, the Dalmatian was at the top of my list. With shelters and rescues having long waitlists for pure breeds, I knew a breeder was a sure way to find the breed I wanted…but was also aware that I was a poor college student and could not afford to spend hundreds of dollars on a dog. So while I searched, it was more in a daydream sort of way – thinking I’d have to just keep an eye out at shelters and rescues (probable eventually falling in love with another “mutt”). However, early on, I came across an 8-week old Dalmatian puppy that was crazy cheap. Of course this caught my attention and I thought “wow – what’s wrong with this one?” Well, I quickly found out what was “wrong” was that she was deaf. My first thought was “so what?” Her location (out-of-state) was the reason I thought “yeah, right”.
Out of pure curiosity, I thought about why being deaf would cause the breeder to charge this small fee, loosing them money. So I did some more research and found that training a deaf dog didn’t seem that much different from training any other dog.
But what I found next was truly heartbreaking.
You see, deafness is a common trait found in some breeds and therefore, some breeds are required to have testing done on pups (a BAER Hearing Test) to determine if they are deaf. This allows breeders to be responsible and make sure that no deaf dogs are bred (so it’s not passed on to more pups).
However, one “option” for breeders is to euthanize (or as I prefer to bluntly put it – KILL) any puppies who are deaf. As if that was not enough, a certain organization “advocating” for Dalmatians not only recommended breeders kill any deaf puppies, but they said it was wrong to let them live. And the cherry on top? A statement on their website mentioning that IF you have adopted a deaf puppy and are having any difficulties with training to consider having it euthanized and starting over with a new, “healthy” pup.
Well that sealed the deal right there. I didn’t know how in the world I would make this happen or if I even could, but I knew I had to try to make this sweet puppy, “Faith”, a part of my family. Because, while I knew the breeder was clearly not in the business of killing disabled puppies and would therefore find a home for her – what if whomever they trusted to raise her did have troubles training her? After all, most puppies are tough and most people aren’t great at training. So what if her new family researches and find this “advice” and follows it – after all, it is coming from an organization who specializes in this breed? I couldn’t allow it – I had to make sure she was safe.
Best decision I ever made.
Faith was truly wonderful. And she did all the things in this book and then some. If you never got to meet her, I hope you gather some of her spirit in this book.