Carolyn + Buzz
Deaf Dog Connects with Deaf Children to form an Unbreakable Bond
Carolyn + Buzz
Buzz joined our family in April 2008 when he was 4 months old. He had come to Central Texas Dachshund Rescue from someone who purchased him at a flea market, and he was in a small cage full of other dachshund puppies that were all trying to get to the top. His beautiful blue eyes and unusual coloring won over the kind individuals who put him in the good hands of Central Texas Dachshund Rescue. Shortly after coming into foster care, it was discovered that little Buzz was deaf, as a result of being a double dapple.
"There was an instant connection between my students and little Buzz as he was deaf, just like them. "
Buzz was a perfect match for our family. I am a deaf education teacher and was already bringing a therapy dog to work in my classroom with my students. As soon as Buzz came into our home, we knew he needed a lot of extra attention and he immediately started coming to school with me. There was an instant connection between my students and little Buzz as he was deaf, just like them. They became assistants in Buzz’s training and in teaching him sign language; they also helped select his name. I had purchased him a vibrating collar with a soft vibration similar to a vibro-tactile device used with students who are deaf. Because we would “buzz” him to get his attention, he became known as Buzz.
The lives of countless individuals have been touched by Buzz. He became a pet therapy dog when he was just 2 years old and responds to about 50 words/phrases in sign language. He assists me in my classroom with my students who are deaf with additional special needs by teaching them how to follow directions. They will give him a command in sign language and then a treat after he has performed the skill/trick. He also “listens” to the students as they read books to him as he can “understand” their sign language.
He visits children at Dell Children’s Hospital and helps to distract them from their pain and discomfort. Buzz also visits the University of Texas during finals to help students find some stress relief. After the end of a long difficult teaching day, Buzz can often be found in the middle of a circle of teachers sitting on the floor where he provides them love and support to help them forget about the tough day they had. He helps students learn about meeting dogs safely and how to be respectful around dogs. Buzz has also helped teach young adults with special needs how to work with dogs so that they themselves can obtain employment in the pet industry.
Buzz is truly a blessing—not just to me, but to all of the individuals whose lives he has touched. We are all blessed by Buzz. If it wasn’t for the kind souls of Central Texas Dachshund Rescue, there’s no telling what Buzz’s fate would’ve been. They gave him a chance to make a difference in the world.
Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Carolyn Honish won Central Texas Dachshund Rescue in Spring City, Pennsylvania a 2015 Holiday Wishes award.