Conway Area Humane Society

Deaf Dog Adoption: Love Languages

The term ‘love language’ is often something we consider when thinking of our significant others – but what about our pets? Last week, a unique dog found a very special home.


Sawyer brings ‘love languages’ to a whole new level, as he is completely deaf. How do you communicate with a dog who cannot hear?


“It takes some creativity to figure this out,” adopter Jen states, sharing some of her newest ideas on how to make Sawyer feel at home. “The happy voice doesn’t work!”


Telling Sawyer that he is doing a good job, or doing something right, becomes a challenge without the power of voice. Jen is already learning that extra pets and the introduction of toys go a long way. Pairing hand signals with an immediate treat work like clicker training for dogs who can hear. Jen also invested in a collar for deaf dogs that vibrates. This provides a signal that he feels in response to behavior. Jen is working with Morganne Sterl, Conway police officer and owner of Cold River Canine, for additional training support. Having worked together in the past, Jen deeply trusts her experience.


Behavior training is not the only step Jen took to welcome Sawyer into her life. Finding housing that welcomes dogs can be a challenge in the Valley, but word of mouth helped her to find an excellent dog friendly location. Jen also had to consider her work schedule. She is now working full time as a Kennel Tech at Fryeburg Veterinary Clinic. “We stay busy!” she relates, explaining how the hospital’s full parking lot reflects the busy schedule of their seven doctors. Working one full job, instead of several positions, allows Jen to give Sawyer the attention he deserves.


Jen grew up with fosters and rescues as a kid, so her decision to adopt Sawyer is not surprising. Jen actually fostered Sawyer before adopting him into her home. She feared that his disability would keep him at the shelter for a long time, which cemented her decision to take him home for good. When fostering Sawyer, she realized how easy it was to accommodate his deafness.


How is that home working out for him? Four days after adoption, the report could not be better. Jen is impressed with Sawyer’s easygoing spirit and eagerness to meet and greet new people and animals. “He sticks his nose in everything, is always wanting someone to pet him, and is great with other dogs!” Jen appreciates Sawyer’s goofy, easygoing spirit and quips that he quickly befriended her cat as well.


As we head towards Valentines Day, it is important to understand that love is about listening, and listening comes in many forms. The story of Sawyer and Jen is a true reminder of this sentiment. Ready to love an animal? Take a look at some of our most worthy residents here.

Share this post: