The dog was taken to a vet to undergo a routine exam, but no one could have foreseen what happened next, but when it did, everyone’s jaws dropped. As luck would have it, this dog might have been deaf and old, but she still had a few tricks up her paws. Once her new family discovered that there was more to her than met the eye, they knew they owned one special dog. And it all began with a few photos and a shocking revelation.
Tom and Jane Cannone were looking to adopt a dog, but they certainly weren’t looking for one that was deaf. The couple wanted a dog badly, so they started looking online for a potential dog they could adopt and bring back to their home in Norfolk, Virginia. There were plenty of dogs looking for a new family, but the Cannones wanted something unique. They wanted a dog that was big and gentle, so they considered a Boxer, which is how they stumbled onto the Carolina Boxer Rescue.
The Carolina Boxer Rescue is an organization that places Boxers who have been impounded, abandoned, abused or are simply strays, into a temporary or permanent home. The Rescue operates mainly in North and South Carolina, but they’ve expanded to areas of southern Virginia. But their shelter in Hampstead was four hours from where the Cannone’s lived. However, when the couple sifted through CBR’s Facebook page, one dog, in particular, grabbed their attention.
Boombox was a white female Boxer with one black eye and one blue eye. According to the page, she was 8 years old and she appeared to be very playful. Jane sensed that there was something unique about this Boxer, so she reached out to the Carolina Boxer Rescue. The Rescue notified her that Boombox was on no one’s adoption waiting list, which shocked Jane. Boombox seemed sweet and beautiful. But eventually, she discovered the reason why no one wanted her.
Boombox was deaf, which was typical for some white Boxers. This congenital condition is the result of a lack of pigmented skin in the inner ear, which causes the nerve endings to deteriorate during the first few weeks after they’re born. About 5 to 8% of white Boxers suffer from this condition, and most end up in shelters because no one is willing to look after a deaf dog. Fortunately, Jane and Tom felt differently, which was fortunate for Boombox.
Jane knew she’d have to make special arrangements to get Boombox home, but she was head over heels in love with Boombox, and Tom was too. So, Carolina Boxer Rescue approved their application to adopt Boombox almost immediately, but there was one issue. Boombox was living in a foster home located in Charleston, South Carolina, which was even further than the shelter in Hampstead. But this didn’t deter the Cannones.
Jane and Tom planned it out and then took a road trip all the way to Charleston to pick up their beloved new white Boxer. A few days later, they were home and they introduced a brand-new member to their family. Naturally, the couple was happy to see how well-behaved Boombox was. Jane imagined that Boombox’s previous owners treated her with kindness because the pooch was kind and loving. In less than no time, Boombox had formed a bond with her new family. But the couple was about to discover something amazing about their dog.
Jane and Tom went to Ghent to take Boombox to the Dog & Cat Hospital, where she received a full checkup. It turns out, she was in great shape. The vet found no health issues whatsoever, but Jane and Tom discovered something else at the hospital. When the vet, Dr. Layne Brett, learned Boombox was deaf, she decided to run an experiment to test a theory.
Dr. Brett used her hand to make a downward motion. In sign language, this means to sit. A lot of dogs are trained to learn sign language because they’re either deaf, or their owner is. But despite all the time Boombox had spent at the shelter, and her brief time with the Cannones, no one had to bothered to check to see if Boombox knew sign language. But it didn’t take them long to figure it out.
When Dr. Brett made the hand signal, Boombox obeyed, which left Jane and Tom breathless. They had a tough time believing that this deaf dog, who was 8 years old, and spent a lot of time at the shelter, had actually been trained by her previous owner to understand sign language. But the couple was ecstatic because they knew that this skill would allow them to interact with Boombox.
Once Boombox was home, the Cannones tried other hand signals. Eventually, they discovered that the “walk” signal is her favorite command. “When we hold a finger up and motion to her, she knows it’s time for her walk,” explained Jane. The motion isn’t officially part of sign language, but some owners come up with their own signals to use with their dogs. And Jane was very happy that she had a new way of communicating with Boombox.
While the Cannones use hand gestures to give Boombox the same commands they would give a regular dog, the pooch’s special condition makes her even quirkier. For example, she always keeps an eye on Jane and Tom, and depends strongly on her sight and sense of smell to explore her new home. But she doesn’t like the dark or being left alone, which caused a bit of a problem for the couple.
Boombox wasn’t comfortable being alone, which the Cannones, who work full time, realized when it came time to leave for work. Fortunately, they now rely on Muddy Paws, a doggie daycare that watches over Boombox while they’re working. She’s totally cool hanging out with other dogs, but prefers humans. Luckily, her human family adores her.
People are shocked by how well-behaved Boombox is, especially when Jane and Tom take her out for a walk. She won’t even react to other dogs barking. “People ask me how I keep Boombox quiet,” explained Tom. “I just tell them that she obeys.” Then again, deaf dogs are incapable of reacting to annoying sounds like fireworks or thunder, which can scare them, so this is a bonus. But that’s not why the Cannones love Boombox to bits.
The Cannones didn’t realize that Boombox would take them on such an amazing journey. And now, they simply don’t know how they managed to live before she came into their lives. “There’s something special about her,” shared Jane. “She’s so sweet, and I wouldn’t change this experience for the world.”