Owner says dogs have a deeper level of connection
The New Mexican
Keith King of Española adopted Paprika from the Española Humane animal shelter seven years ago. Before Christmas in 2019, King adopted Luna. Luna was the first pup adopted from Española Humane’s Puppy Patch at Ojo Santa Fe resort and spa.
Paprika, an 8-year-old Doberman and long-haired cattle dog mix, and Luna, a 1-year-old cattle dog mix, are bilingual dogs who understand English and American Sign Language. King is deaf, and the dogs respond not only to voice but also to his hand signals. One of the signs King uses means “friend,” and this is the dogs’ cue to shake hands, as friends do.
King said both dogs know he is deaf.
If he isn’t looking at them or doesn’t see them, the dogs will paw him to get his attention. “They help me so much, they’re my ears and are always by my side,” he said.
“Dogs have a deeper level of connection,” King said, “and communicating with them in sign language strengthens that bond. Because body language is an integral part of ASL, I believe that I can understand what they communicate to me without words. We understand each other so well, it’s like we can read each other’s minds.”
From The Santa Fe New Mexican, June 10, 2021 edition. Read the story online at this link.