Featured Member Spotlight: Meet Pippa the Amazing Deaf Dog!

We have a ton of puptastic members at Barx Parx and love all of them! Want to get to know one of them a bit a more? Find out when you can play with them at Barx Parx Indoor Dog Park? In honor of​ Deaf Dog Awareness Week, here's our featured member spotlight for Pippa the Amazing Deaf Dog! Read more below about this very special girl who visits us multiple times every week for park play and daycare.

Name: Pippa the Amazing Deaf Dog
Breed: Brown-Spotted Dalmation (color variation is why she was born deaf) & Shar Pei Mix
Age: 3 Years Old
Gender: Female

Instagram: @pippatheamazingdeafdog


In honor of​ Deaf Dog Awareness Week, September 22-28, 2019 

Who is your favorite human and why?

I have a few humans that I lose my mind over--one is Naomi from​ A Path 4 Paws because she rescued me from an abusive situation and took really good care of me while I was waiting for Jenine to find me. My best friend is Lindsay, who rescued Riley dog from the same shelter​–​I knew Riley when we were there together, so I was really glad when our humans found each other at their work kennel and became friends. Jenine is my service human and she is really good about waking me up gently and making sure I see that she is leaving if I’m staying home with George the cat. (He’s pretty neat, even though he’s not a human.)

Can you do any special tricks?

I am a master of what we like to call the “Sneak and Sniff.” This is a technique that I created and honed while in the yard at BarxParx. Basically, what you need to do for a successful Sneak and Sniff move on a Park Ranger is to tiptoe behind them and sniff the back of their legs. (The Rangers smell especially delicious in their kneepits.) If you want to try it on a dog, just be sure to watch out for their wagging tail as you practice the up close and personal version of the Sneak and Sniff.

What item (toy, treat, blanket, etc) can you not live without at home?

Even though I really hated it when I first saw it, I can’t do without my kennel. It’s where I get frozen peanut butter kongs when my service human goes to her work kennel and when it’s time to go to bed. It’s where I get my brekky and my supper. And, it’s where I go when I win at playing the chase-chase-put-my-leash-on game, too. George never goes in there but he does sometimes test my water dish for quality when the door is open. (Thanks, George.)

Any funny habits or stories that you can share with us?

Pippa has revealed an amazing sense of humor that she reserves for me and for George the cat. She is basically his paparazzi and has a facial expression that is designated solely for whenever he comes into the room. He is the alpha and she looks to him to see if she should be nervous or not. Case in point: she couldn’t care less about the vacuum cleaner when I first got her. Now, she sees George run to the other end of the house and she quickly follows suit. It works the other way too, though. George adores sitting on the patio when it’s not too warm out, but Pippa is leary of the patio. He is able to coax her out there a little further each time as if he’s waving his paw in encouragement. It’s wonderful to see them interacting in this way. They really are buddies.

What is your favorite part about Barx Parx?

Because I am deaf, it’s not safe for me to ever be off-leash when I’m not inside my apartment. When my service human found BarxParx, she was really excited to take me there so I could have some newfound freedom and safely meet other dogs, too. ​I love that I can be off-leash and still see my service human when I’m being super brave and exploring the large yard. I also love to do my signature “Sneak and Sniff” moves to both staff and dogs alike. Oh, and I really love the air conditioning because I don’t like to feel hot or get too much sun (and neither does my service human)

What days and times do you normally come to Barx Parx?

I like to go to BarxParx when it’s not super busy. One of my favorite times is on Sunday mornings because that’s when all of the dogs are in the large yard together. It’s a good time for me to collect information for my “Field Notes on How to Dog” (a project I work on while at BarxParx) because there is always a group of run/chase/play dogs doing their thing for me to study. Friday night after happy hour is also a chill time. I usually go to BarxParx 4 or 5 times a week.

What’s your life mantra?

Pay attention to everything around you because there’s always a lot to notice.

What are 3 words that best describe your personality?

I am super gentle, observant and brave.

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BONUS FEATURE

How do you get a deaf dog to sit?

by Jenine, service human for Pippa the Amazing Deaf Dog

“How do you get a deaf dog to sit?” was one of my first questions when I learned the dog that I was matched with at the adoption event turned out to be deaf. I’m a practical person and I, like many (most?) people, had never met a deaf dog before. For that matter, I don’t think I’d ever met any deaf animals. I didn’t know then that many deaf dogs are put down as puppies because they are at risk for being abused and ending up in shelters (like Pippa), being hit by cars, and/or being deemed “aggressive” since it is so easy to startle a deaf dog by not being sensitive to the “If I can’t see you, I can’t hear you” rule in approaching them. I didn’t know any of this or how to train a deaf dog, but something told me I could find a way to learn.​ Deaf Dogs Rock helped me learn all about deaf dogs and how to provide the best safety and training for Pippa. Their organization has been the single greatest resource for my own learning and for advocating for deaf dogs while I speak to others about Pippa.

There are lots of local dog rescue organizations in the Las Vegas Valley and I worked with nearly all of them to find the right dog for me. I even brought one home before I met Pippa and it turned out not to be a good match; thankfully, she was re-adopted the day I returned her to the shelter. I ​searched far and wide for a match in temperament and smarts. I wanted to rescue an adult dog that needed a good home. I wanted a dog that could and ​would ​ enjoy walking a lot; one that would not chase my 13-year old cat or the birds I adored watching; one that would enjoy simple companionship and a quiet lifestyle. I wanted a companion to help me manage the brutal summer heat and make sure I still got plenty of steps each day. Naomi at ​A Path 4 Paws matched us perfectly and Pippa makes sure that ​every ​ day is leg day at our house.

Pippa is my amazing deaf dog life partner super hero bestie.

Everyone asks lots of questions when they learn I have a deaf dog and the number one question is always about how we communicate. I learned that training a deaf dog isn't any harder than training a hearing dog, it's just different. My friends say it takes a lot of patience, but Pippa makes it easy for me: I just watch and listen to her very closely. Pippa and I have hand signals (ASL) as well as signals I pass through the leash or through my feet (right foot stomp = sit, left foot start to walk = go for example). It’s amazing to communicate with her in all these different ways. She is very smart and eager to learn. And, we don’t actually have a sign for “no.” We have a lot of signs for “yes,” though. And, we both do the happy dance when we see someone we love.

People really want to pet Pippa, but that’s really not what she wants​–​it took four months for her to let me pet her. Her favorite thing is to be ignored. In fact, whenever friends visit my home, I tell them to completely ignore my dog. It has proven to be the best strategy because it gives Pippa the ability to choose how, when and how much to approach a new person. She is the ultimate introvert. At BarxParx, the Rangers and I let folks know that Pippa will not come to them (she’s just barely starting to come to me) and we ask that they please not approach her. ​The BarxParx Rangers have all been incredibly supportive of my timid rescue dog and they all cheer her on like their favorite football teams whenever she walks in or stretches herself a little closer to being a real dog.Pippa must think I am shopping for dogs when we visit the yard because I am always petting dogs, throwing the ball for them, or providing a lap for a small pup. I do this mainly to distract dogs from Pippa to give her a chance to get into the yard and feel comfortable there. We tag-team our way through the pack and eventually end up walking laps. It has been wonderful to watch Pippa go further and further away from where I am stationed. This is something we would never be able to do outside off-leash, so BarxParx has truly provided a safe and nurturing place for my timid girl to find her way.

We’ve been working steadily on ​“Field Notes on How to Dog” ​and BarxParx has been a huge help with this effort. After several months of going to BarxParx, Pippa has really blossomed. She has recently started letting some of her Park Ranger buddies pet her after doing her waggy wag happy dance for them. The Sneak and Sniff has become a little challenge game she issues herself; she seems to collect more points each time we’re in the yard. Pippa did her 2-hour boarding assessment just this week and blew us all away with how amazing she did with lots of dogs and people she didn’t know in the yard. It is an utter delight to see the joy on our BarxParx friends’ faces when Pippa makes it clear she is learning how to trust and how to dog. I have no doubt that one day in the not-too-distant future, Pippa will pick up a ball while we’re at BarxParx and those of us who have watched her doing her field notes studying and dog computations during countless visits will immediately burst into tears.

In honor of Deaf Dog Awareness Week, I hope you’ll introduce yourself to me when you see us at BarxParx and share this story with anyone who’d like to hear about Pippa the Amazing Deaf Dog who thinks that the ASL sign for applause is actually her name. Why not?! It’s not a bad name for a brave girl who is learning how to dog.

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Deaf Dogs Rock​ helped me learn all about deaf dogs and how to provide the best safety and training for Pippa. Please support this amazing organization and help spread the word during Deaf Dog Awareness Week!

Know someone who should be featured in an upcoming member spotlight? Let us know via our contact us page.

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