Deaf Dog Finally Meets Her Happy Ending After Learning Sign Language In The Shelter


We all know that a shelter is not an ideal place for a dog. Unfortunately, many canines are forced to spend their lives between the four walls of a kennel because their only alternative is the street. 

One poor pup had such a fate that she had to spend most of her short life in the shelters across Florida. To make matters worse, many of them are shelters where euthanasia is performed, meaning that she was always on the brink of the worst-case scenario. 

It was truly a relief when she was accepted to Abandoned Pet Rescue (APR), a non-euthanasia shelter located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. However, even there, she had to overcome many obstacles before she met her happy ending.

Sad Fate

deaf dog on carpet
Source: Abandoned Pet Rescue

When three-year-old Cocoa, a Dalmatian-Pointer mix, came to APR in June 2022, she was welcomed with open arms by the shelter staff. Sadly, despite the warm welcome, Cocoa was still very timid, and sorrow could be seen in her eyes. 

From the very first day, the shelter staff could tell that she was different – her appearance was somewhat odd and her reactions were very strange. Soon, they found out about her sad fate. 

“When she arrived, it was discovered that Cocoa was deaf,” Kara Starzyk, shelter manager of Abandoned Pet Rescue, told Newsweek. 

deaf dog sitting
Source: Abandoned Pet Rescue

They didn’t know much about her past except that she was a resident of numerous shelters. However, being deaf and in an unknown place surrounded by numerous other animals was enough reason for her to be anxious and act strangely. 

Yet, despite all the difficulties, these big-hearted people didn’t want to give up on Cocoa and were determined to ensure her a brighter future.  

Inspiring Determination

deaf dog standing on the beach
Source: Abandoned Pet Rescue

The staff already knew that Cocoa’s time in the shelter would be long. Since she was deaf and didn’t have some basic canine knowledge, the potential adopters kept bypassing her

Fortunately, she was finally at the place where there were people who had patience with her and were willing to train her. In addition, she did not have to worry about how long she would stay in the shelter without ending up on the euthanasia list. 

“APR is the only [non-euthanasia] shelter in Fort Lauderdale, [Florida] so, for a dog with special needs like Cocoa, having more time to find a committed loving home is critical,” Starzyk said.

Because they were all very motivated to help her, the shelter staff did everything to enable her to have a normal life. Since she was deaf, it was most important to teach her sign language. The process was not at all easy, but these people were determined. 

Pogledajte ovu objavu na Instagramu.

Objavu dijeli Abandoned Pet Rescue (@abandonedpetrescue)

Little by little, this smart girl overcame all the obstacles and became a brand-new dog. Cocoa was finally able to come out of her shell, and that was the greatest reward for the people who took care of her. 

“She enjoys going for walks and playing with stuffed toys,” Starzyk said. “She is very smart and learned sign language quickly as she knows commands for ‘sit, paw, stay, and good girl.’”

Cocoa’s life was finally a blessing, but the best was yet to come. 

Happy Ending

deaf dog with his owner
Source: ABANDONED PET RESCUE via Newsweek

After she was trained and learned sign language, Cocoa went to a foster home to continue to grow and develop. 

“Cocoa had been in a temporary home for a month with APR’s volunteers Sandy and Richard Ellis, who have been working on training her to walk better on a leash and teaching her more sign commands,” Starzyk said.

During her stay in the temporary home, her life story circulated on the Internet, so many doors began to open for this dog. It was only a matter of time before she met her happiest moment. 

On April 3, 2024, almost two years after she came to the shelter, APR announced the happy news in their Facebook post

“Congratulations to Cocoa on finding her forever family!” they wrote. 

Sandy and Richard Ellis were the lucky ones who had the honor of adopting this amazing dog. When they heard her sad life story, they were pulled by their heartstrings, which left them no other choice but to give this dog what she deserved long ago. 

deaf dog on the boat
Source: Abandoned Pet Rescue

To get to this moment, Cocoa had to go through a lot, and it was not easy at all. Nevertheless, this amazing girl succeeded and became an inspiration to many.