• Alexander Habilay

Hear No Evil, Australian Deaf Dog Rescue

“They have a happy life with absolutely no awareness that they are any different from any other dog. As far as each one of them is concerned, they are experiencing life just like everyone else does.”

Do you squeal whenever a cute pooch crosses your path, and do your screams of excitement bleed the ears of those around you? Then maybe a deaf dog is for you. Hear No Evil is Australia’s first and only legitimate deaf-specific rescue, and they need your help in saving man’s best friend.

President and Founder, Sonja Coombes, launched Hear No Evil (HNE) as an initiative to save one deaf dog at a time. The Coombes family were to care for each deaf pooch in their own home, but that soon went by the wayside when HNE went viral and all kinds of hearing-impaired tail-waggers appeared in need of help. This might be a dream come true for most people, but for Sonja Coombes it meant expansion.

Now, after three years of service to the canine community, HNE’s committed team have rehomed 100 dogs and honorary canines – cats, because discrimination doesn’t belong in a pack – and aren’t slowing down. HNE currently have 17 deaf and/or visually impaired doggies in their care, and are always looking for more foster carers so they can save more deaf dogs in need.

“We have a small team of foster carers who are the backbone of our rescue. Without carers, we simply can’t save the deaf dogs who need our help,” says Michelle Coffill, HNE’s Secretary and Canberra-region Coordinator. “We don’t expect any of our carers to have had previous experience with deaf dogs – they simply need to be willing to open their home to a dog in need and learn as they go.”

HNE provide anyone looking to do some good with all the support needed to help them prepare their foster dog for a long, happy adopted life. HNE also have a number of qualified and deaf-experienced trainers in their ranks, who are a swat team of knowledge and nurture providing additional assistance to carers. HNE set all their foster dogs up with their basic training and happily work with all the adopters to continue to progress a dog’s training.

For HNE, deafness isn’t a death sentence, but there is no magic fix when it comes to working with a deaf dog and preparing them for adoption – especially when a dog has arrived from a less-than-ideal situation and needs to learn not only their basic obedience, but the basics of life as part of a family.

“Each dog takes time, effort, patience, consistency, understanding and commitment,” Michelle confesses. “It’s an absolute labour of love, and each carer does this for as long as they need to, for a dog that isn't theirs, so that an adopter down the track can benefit from all that hard work.”

Michelle shares her home with a deaf English Staffy, a deaf and visually impaired Bull Arab cross, and a deaf and blind Great Dane cross. Each of them was abandoned because of their sensory issues, but are now living loved and happy lives thanks to Michelle and HNE.

“They have a happy life with absolutely no awareness that they are any different from any other dog. As far as each one of them is concerned, they are experiencing life just like everyone else does,” Michelle says, smiling.

At the end of the day, a deaf dog is just a dog. Instead of buying a puppy-farmed dog or supporting other unnecessary breeding, why not adopt a dog that really needs your care? Or if adoption isn’t for you but you have space in your home and room in your heart to foster a deaf dog in need, then make a tail wag, and contact Hear No Evil at austdeafdogrescue@outlook.com or on 0497 414 632.

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