We've always noticed how well deaf dogs sleep -- right through the noise of daily activities, doors closing, people walking by, even thunderstorms. It's not as if the ability to sleep so soundly compensates in any way for the disability, but still, there are plenty of times we wish we could sleep that soundly. But the best sleepers of all are the blind and deaf ones, like Spinner. Not only could Alayne take this photo of her without waking her, but the flash was going off, too ... while other dogs were milling around in the dog room. Yet she slept right on through. Until, that is, her nose woke her up to tell her Alayne was nearby.
I'm working on a redesign for our main website, which will include some new content and other changes and updates. One section I'm adding is a page about the many myths regarding disabled animals, and among them is the old and mistaken belief that deaf dogs or blind dogs are somehow prone to "snapping" or "biting" when woken up or otherwise startled. There's a lot more to this terrible myth, and I won't get into the full response here, but suffice to say that in ten years of working with these special animals, not once have Alayne or I ever been snapped at or bitten by a deaf or blind dog ... whether from being woken up or having startled them. And you would think that a blind and deaf dog would sort of "double" this supposed risk, but of course it doesn't ... because the myth is just flat-out wrong.
I can wake up Spinner from the deepest of sleeps by simply touching her anywhere on her body, or by blowing on her nose. The same is true of Spencer and Katie, our blind and deaf brother-sister pair. All of them wake up very quietly and gently, usually by putting their heads up in the air to sniff around to see what's new. ("Hey, is that my morning coffee brewing?")
If a dog does snap or bite as a result of being startled, it's because of his or her personality, not the disability. But, more on this when we roll out the new website, hopefully in the next month.
Meanwhile, here is what was going on below Spinner ... blind and mostly deaf Madison sleeping:
Madison can hear but is "directionally challenged," as we call it ... she can't tell which direction the sound is coming from, so she whirls around in circles trying to get a fix on it.
Speaking of snoozing animals, a number of people thought they saw a third cat in the previous blog post. Um, not exactly. Here's a close-up from a different angle:
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