Deaf rescue puppy adopted by deaf man learns sign language
Little Emerson and Nick Abbott did not need words to know they were meant to be together.
Emerson, a deaf black labrador, found his forever home with Abbott, who is deaf, after living in North Florida Rescue (NFR) Maine, which saves dogs from high-kill shelters.
He had a rough start to his life, being left at a shelter at just 6 weeks old. NFR Maine would go on to rescue him and care for him as he fought the Parvo infection and seizures last February when he was 8 weeks old.
UPDATE 2/5/2019:A sad and scary update for our little warrior this morning. Unfortunately Emerson has broke out with…
The organization kept trying to find his perfect match until he was the only pup from his litter left unadopted.
Last March, Abbott saw a Facebook post featuring Emerson with the description, “Even though he may be deaf, he is still an AMAZING little pup with SOO much love to give!”
UPDATE: Adopted!! Please see our page for his adoption story! :)Our Sweet boy Emerson is still looking for his forever…ADVERTISEMENT
This piqued Abbott’s interest and days later, he and his mom went to check on Emerson.
It was a match. “He came straight to me at the door and sat right away at my feet and stayed there,” Abbott told WABI-TV in April.
“So you can tell he kind of picked me. And I knew right then and there that we would get along and understand each other pretty good.”
When Abbott applied to adopt Emerson, his application was processed within the day.
The bond between the two is palpable even online. Abbott has opened an Instagram account for him and his new friend, whom he calls Em or Emmy. Emerson can be seen cuddling on Abbott’s lap and gets along with his big brother, a yellow lab named Scout.
To communicate, Abbott uses visual commands derived from sign language. Emerson already knows sit, which he follows when his owner makes the letter s with his hand.
He has also learned lie down, which Abbott gestures by sweeping his hand in a straight line.
“If Nick reaches up and shakes his ear lobe, Emerson will bark. It’s so cute,” Abbott’s mom Richelle told Good Morning America in an April 30 report.
Hand signals are important to dogs, the American Kennel Club (AKC) says on its website. Dogs tend to respond more to visual cues than to sound and smell, so AKC recommends teaching hand signals and being aware of one’s body language in communicating with dogs. Niña V. Guno /ra
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.