Friday, 13 November 2009

Deafness - no longer just pretending...

What was that you just said?

For years, as long I can remember in fact, I have been practicing what Gail refers to as 'selective deafness', but I would rather call an intelligent and discriminating approach to deciding whether to bother listening to humans (especially bossy or angry ones). 

This tactic has served me well in the past, allowing me time to focus on important things like sniffing lamp posts and investigating piles of leaves. 

The problem is, now I really can't hear very much at all. 

My eyes are fine, my sense of smell and taste superlative, my heart not too bad for a chap of my advanced years and I am in excellent voice (as I demonstrated at about 5:45 am this morning when I decided I wanted to go out into the garden...)

It's taking quite a while to train Gail to deal with my loss of hearing. She thought I was pretending at first (unfair accusations about 'crying wolf', whatever that means, were flying around). She even thought I didn't love her anymore, 'cos I was no longer rushing to the door when she came home of an evening.

But now she knows to come and touch me gently if I'm on sofa sleeping, and look me in the eyes and not startle me by sneaking up from behind. And she doesn't get cross when I ignore her commands, and has accepted that I no longer 'announce' visitors. I know she tries to understand that I feel insecure at times, and like to keep her in my sights, even when she visits the bathroom.... 

So I'm staying positive. Isn't it nice to have the internet! Such a boon for deaf dogs (and humans). Perhaps some of my cyber-pals have suggestions on coping with a silent world? 


Kira The BeaWootiful said...

Woooos Hamish! Mommy had a dear old girl that was totally deaf her last few years. She trained Mommy to use hand signals for most things. Ever since then, Mommy as always taught all doggies (and their Moms and Dads) the necessity of hand commands. It is fairy easy to learn. Teach your Mom some basic ones so she can understand woo better. I am sure she just needs more training as do all Moms....
-Kira The BeaWootiful

Mack and Sally Ann said...

Hamish things will improve, also your birthday meal looked amazing.
Sally Ann

Ludo van Doggy said...

Oh Hamish!
And to think you could have used this as an excuse to misbehave long ago.
I doesn't think it will be too bad for you. More for Gail really.
Grandpawents old dog Cap was deaf, he died afore we moved back here.
Mum taught him some simple hand signals and he did really well. There some great sites out there that can teach them to Gail.

You could also try getting a high pitch whistle for out on walkies as Cap could still hear some loud and high pitched things.
~lickies, Ludo

MAX said...

Hey Gail
Our Tommy-dog is deaf too. It's not so bad really... When mom needs to call him from a distance she claps her hands - that sound is all he needs. Mom says that you should start to teach him gently at first eg when Hamish has eye contact with you, then 'show' him the clap softly and get him to come to you and reward him so that he knows the clap is not scary. Before long, the clap has substituted for his name.We have had great success.
Good luck and lotsalicks

MAX said...

ps Hamish, have you finished those fillets yet? You can pass them our way. Luv Max

Petey said...



No, that's just obnoxious. Our wire fox terrier Keddy was deaf but somehow could always hear a bag of potato chips being opened or ice going into a glass. I agree with Max's suggestion about teaching Gail some hand-signals. Mommy has one for me that means "quiet" when I bark a little longer than necessary.

All I know is it means a treat is coming!



Jazzi said...

Oh Hamish,
Our last dog went deaf too and we just kept him in sight and yes, he watched our hands to know what to do. Your mom will have to work on it and you guys will both figure it all out. You will like to be closer to mom nowdays.


Martha and Bailey said...

Hi Hamish, we think the perfect solution would be for you to have your very own hearing dog!
That way they could alert you to the doorbell ringing or strangers approaching.
The down side would he having to share you liver!
Other than that we agree with all the other suggestions - we think Gail should pick up sign language quite quickly if you start teaching her now.
Still look on the positives - you wont be distressed by the fireworks!!!
We still think you are amazing for you age Hamish.
love and kisses
Martha & Bailey xxx

Stella said...

Oh dear Hamish! You know, don't you, that my Mom is profoundly deaf and has been for quite a while. Just keep to your walks, learn a little something new every day, and enjoy the love of Gail and her friends. The hand signals are a good idea. Sometimes people write notes to my Mom, wouldn't work for you, but just pay close attention and you will get a lot of info. When my son and friends come into a room and I don't notice, they flip the light switch so I know they are there. Maybe you and Gail could work out something with a little flashlight.

Don't despair, though, life goes on and people want to help you. Just enjoy it all.

Love and hugs,
Stella and her Mom

ScrapsofMe said...

Hamish....what's that you say? Eh?
teehee...Puffy the snitch is almost completely deaf. He feels virbrations and gets under foot a lot following HER around. Now this his eyesite is nearly gone too, we don't make any quick movements around him. SHE puts her hand down in front of his nose and lets him smell her....then he's all wiggy tail happy. I go find him at dinner and snackie time and give him a come on nudge. As much as we don't get along, I still make sure he gets his share of the foodies. I'm a good Scottie, yes I am! Sometimes I drag him around by his leash. She leaves that on him in case he needs a quick course correction. It's the price of living a good full life. If he hadn't gone deaf they probably wouldn't have gotten that was a good thing. I am the new early warning alarm system.
Stay warm and keep those joints lubricated with a wee dram now and then.
peesess...Puffy can still hear my high pitch kill shriek when I see tree rats and he high tails it to her side just in case it was meant for him.

Anonymous said...

Dear Hamish, my Westie Merlin in his later years lost quite a bit of his hearing. He would slumber gently on the couch when I came in at night. He seemed to take it in his stride. I would not worry about it too much. You doggies are so blessed as you can just find a new way of dealing with the world. You don't have the ego that we humans do. I guess your Mom will have to keep a bit more of an eye on you tho when you go for walkies!

Rocky Creek Scotties and Java said...

When Java started loosing his hearing Mom started signing the words for him and he picked up on it right away. If Gail doesn't know sign language, she can just make up some signs and use them consistently and a smart chap like you will pick up on them immediately.

Lilly, Piper, Carrleigh and Java

Eric said...

Hamish dear boy. I can tell you and Gail are taking this all in your stride. I'm guessing you two will figure things out very well between you to make your life comfortable. I would like to offer my help should you need it - not with the hearing cos I really DO have selective hearing as well as my terrier stubborn trait. But if you happen to need another voice to back you anytime at all up I'm your boy. And well done on the early morning call for Gail, know she will have appreciated it.

Wiry loves and kisses Eric xx

Footheel Sock Knitter said...

Hamish you are such a handsome Westie. You are one of my favorite breeds. I have two Shih Tzus whom I love dearly. I am fond of Toto types, size and personality. Our home is not large and we like the compainonship of lap dogs. Not meaning you just like laps.

We found your blog through the kind Rocky Creek Scotties. You have a nice blog and we think Hamish is a awesome little Westie!

Benny and Lily said...

Hamish our momma only listens when she wants to.
Benny & Lily

Asta said...

Deawest Hamish

Mommi doesn't heaw out of one of hew eaws and sometimes she says it's nice to tune out the wowld.
As long as youw nosey and eyes wowk ,I thinkyou will not have pwoblems.
I think you awe a vewy fit fouwteen and So tewwibly handsome. Gail loves you and will's hawdest on the hoomans I think.
I like the idea of leawning a special hand signal language..sowt of like a secwet between the two of you
smoochie kisses

TwoSpecialWires said...

Hamish. We could be really notty and suggest that you wear one of those cone shaped things that would serve as a big sound funnel. But we don't like to be mean. (We've just been thinking a lot about Mango and PeeWee.) What we CAN tell you is that you and Gail will adjust. You'll learn hand signals and body language. You'll stay closer to her. And you'll probably pay attention to vibration. Moma used to use a stomp on the carpeted floor with her heel to get Molly's attention. And she did well even after she was deaf AND blind. Plus, Gail has already figured out what we think is the most important thing: touch slowly and gently.

Love ya, pal,
Jake and Fergi xxoo

Anonymous said...

Not to worry. We all lose our hearing at some point. Before I came to live with Them, They had a Scottie named BoBo. He became deaf (hard of hearing just a bit???) and They learned to use visual cues with Him. Everything turned out just fine.

You and Gail will be alrighty. And She's not stupid: she touches you gently so's not to scare you. Good Girl Gail!!!!!

I'm keeping you in my Roo Roo thoughts.

Your Pal,