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A Dog that Understands Sign Language

3 minutes
A Dog that Understands Sign Language
A Dog that Understands Sign Language
Last update: 16 February, 2019

The intelligence of animals, especially dogs, is something that nobody has any doubt about. And yet they keep on surprising us! Today we’ll tell you the story of Walter, a dog that was perfect for a little girl named Julia. Both of them were born deaf , but Walter learned how to recognize sign language in order to communicate with his owner. Amazed? You will be!

The empathy that dogs are able to show us really has no limits. Walter wanted to bond with his little owner so much that he learned from her sign language in order to build that friendship. Here’s their story…

Walter and Julia, coming together

Walter is a mix between a chihuahua and a terrier and was found along with 5 other puppies in Pasadena, California, by an animal rescue center.

The center launched an appeal to find a home for these puppies. When Julia’s mother saw that one of the dogs was deaf, she instantly wanted to meet him.

Julia is an only child and her mother thought that some company would be good for her, and if that company could also share and understand her condition, what could be better than that?

Julia’s mother felt there was a very special connection when they first met Walter. She explains it this way: “When I took my daughter Julia in my arms for the first time, since she couldn’t hear my voice, she smelled my neck.”

She continues: “When I picked Walter up for the first time he did exactly the same thing. From that moment I just knew this was our dog, and that we should keep him“.

And she wasn’t wrong, because Julia absolutely loved him. She and Walter soon formed an unbreakable friendship.

Learning sign language

Even though Walter and Julia became inseparable, Julia soon began to feel that this wasn’t enough to create a really deep bond with her pet. They needed to be able to communicate. She needed Walter to understand her!

So Julia got down to business and began to teach Walter some sign language. Now Julia can call Walter with just a glance or a gesture, and can also tell him that she’s going to feed him, serve him some water or that she needs a hug.

Whatever Julia needs to tell him, she can do so by using signs. And Walter learned how to understand Julia’s signs very quickly, proving to be a very smart dog.

It isn’t known whether Walter lost his hearing, or whether he was born that way. The fact of the matter is that understanding a deaf person is difficult if one hasn’t gone through it themselves. It’s for this reason that Julia and Walter are inseparable friends now, and he cares for her and protects her with his life.

A dog for every person?

They say that there’s a lid for every pot, and in the case of pets, this is also true. Although perhaps unconsciously, we tend to choose our dogs because of something special that attracts us to them. Something that drives us to choose “that one” even when there are hundreds around.

Walter and Julia’s case proves this very clearly. We don’t choose dogs, or any other pet, at random. People have a preference for a certain breed for a reason. We like a certain fur color for a reason and we choose a special puppy among ten for a special reason as well.

Maybe we don’t realize it at first, but suddenly one day we look at our dog and realize that it looks like us in some way. We start thinking things like “what kind of dog would I be?” So, with your pet, there’s a special connection right from the start. A special bond that needs to be strengthened as you grow, in order for you also to have a friendship as unbreakable as Julia and Walter’s.

Here’s a video where you can meet the world’s most famous deaf dog.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.