Olive, a Deaf Rescue Dog Who Understands Sign Language, Wins Pet of the Week Award

It was another memorable week for the dogs, including a super cute Corgi doing an adorable double take and a paralyzed pup reacting enthusiastically to his brand new wheelchair harness.

With that in mind, we thought it best to make this week’s Pet of the Week awards a special dog, with four brave dogs included in this week’s honors.

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Olive and her dog friend Diesel – the Chihuahua/Terrier mix has found a new home and a new friend.
Elisabeth Dachs

Besides being a special dog, this week’s Pet of the Week awards are a reminder of the importance of giving a rescue dog a home and a second chance at happiness.

This week’s winner, Olive, is a perfect example. A Chihuahua/Terrier mixed breed who lives in New York City with her owner Elizabeth Dachs, Olive suffered terrible neglect while in the questionable care of her original owners.

Missing teeth, unable to walk and completely deaf, Olive was also found with an open wound running down her back when she was rescued from a kill shelter by the Hickory Level Hound Rescue. She was later adopted by Dachs, who said Newsweek she fell in love with the “heart melter” as soon as she saw his photo on Facebook.

“We already have a Beagle named Diesel and we weren’t looking for another dog,” Dachs admits. “But I couldn’t resist this picture of this 8 pound dog and the thought of her all to myself. Within an hour, I was on my way to adopting her.”

The connection Dachs felt with the photo proved even stronger in person. “She was put in my arms, a tiny trembling thing,” she said. “She immediately fell asleep in my warm, quiet car on the hour-long drive home.”

Although it took time for Olive to find her footing, both literally and figuratively, and she continues to live with a series of ailments, she has come a long way since then.

“Olive is small, but mighty and very loving,” Dachs said. “She loves having her tummy rubbed! She’s had a real blast for her ‘daddy’ and looks forward to his knees every night when he comes home.”

Dachs said the family developed a special form of sign language to help Olive at home. “A lot of times when she wakes up from a nap, she looks for a reassuring face and then, you can see, she feels better,” she said.

Although they never know her age – Dachs thinks she may be around 10 – they set the date of November 30 as her birthday. Either way, Dachs said she feels like Olive is “getting younger every day” as she heals from the trauma of her past life. She hopes others will follow her example and adopt an older dog.

She said: “I thank my lucky stars every day for allowing us to have Olive in our lives. She is now part of our family.”


Our first runner-up, Ricky, had an equally difficult start. Kept outside as a puppy because his owner’s girlfriend ‘didn’t like the dogs in the house’ he was in poor condition when he was taken for treatment at the Free Animal Doctor clinic in California.

Ricky before and after his rescue.
Ricky before and after his rescue – the pet dog has made an amazing recovery after being neglected for so long.

Ricky was born with a shorter mandible, which means his tongue sticks out often and looks lazy. Like Olive, the 5-year-old dog has come a long way from those rocky beginnings, having found a forever home with her loving owner Stephanie Francis.

Francois said Newsweek: “Ricky loves sleeping in human beds, seeing his friends Bruno and Jimmy for walks around the neighborhood and sitting in the sun. He hates garbage trucks and coming back too early from walks, but he is a sweet and very affectionate for his grandmother.”

Our second runner-up is fellow rescue dog, Fancy, who has found a new home with Pam and Tim Sheehan on a farm in Colbert, Washington.

Imagine the dog.
Imagine the dog – the pooch has found a new home on a farm
Pam Sheehan

Originally fostered by the Thompson Falls Animal Care Shelter, Fancy was given up for adoption by her first owners, aged just eight months, after some “behavioral issues”.

However, their loss turned out to be Sheehans’ gain, with Fancy quickly finding a place among the family’s six cats, three chickens, two rabbits and two llamas. Pam Sheehan said: “Wish I had my broken heart healed after the loss of our beloved dog Lucky! My nickname for her is Puddin ‘n’ tain.”

Our third and final runner up this week is also a rescue pup named Kato who found himself with a new family after his owner joined the military and could no longer care for him.

Kato the dog.
Kato at home – Kato’s owner was mourning the loss of a former dog to cancer
Joy Staeck

He now lives in Gainesville, Georgia, where he enjoys daily walks along hiking trails and occasional swims in the ocean. “We had recently lost our former dog to cancer and missed that special bond,” said Joy Staeck, Kato’s owner. “We are so grateful that he came into our lives.”

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