It was suggested that Ivy have her own Facebook page. Since I already have a personal page, a photography page, one for Ouachita Valley Soap and two blogs...I decided that I would simply start a series of blogs on my farm blog.
For those of you that don't know, Ivy is our newest addition to the family. Rodney and I (and I actually mean "I") had been toying with the idea of getting another boxer for a while. I follow a lot of boxer pages on Facebook and they seem to always be in pairs, or more. Some of my boxer buddies had even told me that one of the best things I could do for Emma would be to get her a brother/sister to play with.
So, a few weeks ago, we were having coffee on the deck and I was browsing Facebook and came across a picture that literally made me gasp. It was two little white female boxers and the caption read, "these two little girls are all I have left." To top it off, they were very nearby and for sale from the same breeder that I got Emma from. It was more than I could bear.
We talked about it a little. I showed Rodney the picture along with pleading eyes and a series of reasons and explanations of how glorious it would be. Nothing was agreed upon but I immediately started messaging the breeder and, within an hour, I was holding the most precious puppy in my arms.
Upon getting her home, it became very clear that something wasn't quite right. She wasn't responding to any sounds or my voice. I thought maybe she was just overwhelmed by the new surroundings and, typically bully-breed stubborn. I was concerned because I had heard that a lot of white boxers are deaf. I started googling how to tell such a thing and, after a series of tests, it was pretty apparent that I had just become the momma of a deaf boxer baby. The confirmation came when she finally fell asleep and I started shouting her name...nothing. No response at all.
My first reaction was fear and sadness. I wanted to melt into a puddle and weep. She was so beautiful and perfect...how could she have a flaw? I felt very overwhelmed like, "what did I just get myself into?" I have a blind dog but she was grown when I got her, very independent and liked outside better than inside so, we just let her figure things out herself. With Ivy, I was dealing with a baby. How in the world do you potty train a puppy that can't hear you? How do you tell them "no" or, this part killed me...how would she know how much I love her if she couldn't hear me say it?
I laid all my fears aside and decided to just do what I knew to do, and that was to love her. I started researching everything I could about deaf dogs. There is a lot of information out there. I posted a query on facebook and was contacted by a lady who also has deaf dogs and has been an invaluable resource for answering questions.
One of the first things I learned was that they need to learn to watch you. They need to know that making eye contact and watching for your signal is how they will know what to do and, what not to do. I watched a video that gave a brief explanation of the most common ASL signs for dogs. When the woman in the video started explaining that the dogs knew their names, to come, and even to get in their beds...I was flabbergasted and filled with doubt and insecurity. Not that Ivy couldn't learn it but that I would be able to teach it. So, we started slow. We started with the "watch me" command.
I was immediately amazed at her willingness to be attentive. Especially with me waving a hot dog around in front of her face. She seemed to know to sit without me even having to explain it. I would slowly bring a piece of hot dog up to my nose, wait until she made eye contact and then reward her. It didn't take long until she was voluntarily staring me down. Talk about melt your heart. Those puppy dog eyes are hard to resist especially when they are working so hard to be obedient.
Potty training has been quite an experience. The only way for me to congratulate her on going potty outside was for me to bend down to her level, smile and clap and give two big thumbs up. It definitely made me thankful that I live in the middle of nowhere. She seems to know the "potty" command now but has associated it only with peeing. We are working on poop now. She is also at that stage where she knows that its good to potty outside, she just hasn't quite grasped the concept that going inside is bad. Plus, being a baby she has to go every 5 minutes.
Emma has been amazing. I so appreciate the fact that she can hear and that she is so obedient. A lot of times, I will ask Emma to do something just so Ivy will follow suit. It really is a great help to have her.
We are BOTH learning patience. Like I said before, it isn't that I doubt Ivy's ability to learn but have great trepidation in my ability to teach. I feel absolutely certain that she was intended for me. That we were fated to be in each others lives. If for nothing more than for my heart to expand to even greater capacity.
We love her. We love her. We love her.
I knew after Eddie came into my life that I would probably never be boxer-less again. And, I knew that one day, we would have two. Since Taylor took Charlotte to live with her and Sophie is pushing 14...I reasoned that it was as good a time as any to expand our little family. Rodney is participating greatly in spoiling her. Its so awesome.
I'll be posting our progress as I'm sure we have many adventures awaiting us.