Updated: Sep 25, 2019
When Christina and Chris Lee adopted a deaf dog called Nitro, training was tough to begin with because of the lack of resources surrounding non-hearing dogs.
But by the time he was only 10 months old, Nitro had achieved his Canine Good Citizen Award and the couple decided to set up an organization to support other owners of deaf dogs.
Imagine you’re watching a movie and all the actors are speaking in a foreign language. . .and there are no subtitles! How much more frustrating and confusing it would be if someone suddenly turned off the sound? You might be able to make out some of what is happening by having your eyes glued to the screen and noting subtle movements or gestures.
That’s just a taste of what it might be like for hundreds of deaf dogs around the country. In honor of National Deaf Dog Awareness Week, we interviewed Christina Lee, one of the founders of a Roanoke Valley non-profit that’s made national headlines helping deaf dogs and their owners navigate life.
For Christina and her husband, Chris of Salem, Virginia, it all began nine years ago with a deaf puppy they named Nitro.
“A shelter reached out to us and asked us to consider adopting a deaf boxer puppy,” she says.
“We did some research and decided we would make a good home for a deaf puppy.
We adopted him, named him Nitro, and within 24 hours I felt like I was way in over my head as far as training but my husband Chris assured me we would figure out Nitro's training together.
We started his puppy training at a local training facility.
He soared through all of his classes and earned his Canine Good Citizen Award by the time he was 10 months old.
When a local TV station did a story on our deaf puppy Nitro, the story went national and we had a lot of people reaching out to us for training help and help rehoming deaf shelter dogs.”