This story begins before Denali was born.
In early January 2010 New England Border Collie Rescue took in four Border Collies from a family that could no longer care for them. Ginger (Denali's grandmother), Ivy (mom), Peat (dad) and Roosevelt (uncle). Soon after they realized that Ivy was pregnant.
Fast forward to February 17th. Eight puppies later and four dogs became twelve- all of which now live happily in their forever homes. Oddly enough, all twelve of the families who adopted these dogs have kept in touch in one way or another.
And so begin's Denali's story.
Denali was born deaf. He is not a double merle or 'lethal white' as some people call them. He just, for whatever reason, turned out mostly white (as did a number of other puppies in his litter). I don't pretend to be an expert on dog genetics, but from what I've been told, if a dog does not have enough pigment in their ears then they do not form the right way, and the dog is born deaf.
So, usually you don't see all-white border collies because you don't WANT to see them. Otherwise we'd have a bunch of dogs herding sheep who couldn't hear the handler's commands. Make sense?
Enough biology, back to the story.
In June 2010 I adopted Denali, who was then a clumsy 4 month old puppy with super long legs that he had no idea how to work. His foster families had done a fabulous job giving him a start at learning signs and socializing him. Despite being from a rescue, he probably had a better start at life than some puppies who come from the best of breeders.
I'd like to say that having a deaf dog is no different than having a dog who can hear, but it isn't. There are differences, but none of them are bad. None of them keep Denali from doing anything that other dogs do. None of them have kept him from being a normal dog and living a normal life. Some I even find quite helpful.
This blog began as an attempt for me to keep the twelve other families who adopted Denali's littermates and family members up to date, not to mention the two foster homes and countless volunteers he met along the way. Then it became helpful for me to keep MY family up to date on what we were up to. Then it became just a fun way to keep track of what we were doing.
Even if no one reads this, I don't care. I know that some day it will be nice to look back at all the good times we had together.