Deaf Dog Learning Sign Language Commands


You can’t tell by looking at Rudi that she’s different from any other dog.

The energetic young “pit bull”-mix loves to play and loves the attention of her owner, Angi Holt-Parks, who lives in the Point Place neighborhood of Toledo.

But Rudi has a disability: She’s deaf. Ms. Holt-Parks and her husband, Don, are learning American Sign Language — the same used by and with deaf people — and teaching it to the dog to communicate with her.

So far, she has learned the hand signals for “potty,” “no,” “good girl,” “love,” and “sit,” she said.

The couple adopted the dog from the Lucas County dog warden, where Ms. Holt-Parks is a volunteer.

“After working with her and walking her, I saw she had a lot of potential,” she said. “She just wasn’t given the chance by anybody because she was deaf. She kept getting looked over. I was constantly thinking about her and even did some research online about deaf dogs and sign language before I got her.”

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