By Madison Bendistis
Elm Staff Writer
This week, meet a dog who is as sweet as her name implies: Sugar. Sugar is a pitbull Dalmatian mix who is about two years old.
Kennel Technician JP Hooker said, “Sugar was surrendered to us by an older woman who got Sugar as a puppy. The owner had two dogs to take care of and she was getting older, so she just couldn’t handle it, especially since Sugar is still young and has a lot of energy.”
It was a challenge for Sugar’s owner to care for her because she is deaf. This makes it more difficult for humans to communicate with her.
“We’ve been working with her on some basic training tips,” Hooker said. “We’ve been getting her to sit and lay down using hand signals. She’s doing pretty good with that.”
When Sugar sees someone curl their hand slowly upwards, she sits, and when someone flattens their hand and lowers it, Sugar lies down.
In addition to teaching Sugar hand signals, there are other accommodations that can easily be made. Because Sugar cannot hear, she relies heavily on sight and is afraid of the dark. The Humane Society keeps a night light in her kennel to assist with this.
“We’ve also been looking into options like a vibrating collar. And then there’s trainers that come in and have been talking about other things we could do with her. There are specialists who deal with deaf dogs. So if someone were to adopt Sugar and wanted to work with her more, they could reach out to those specialists,” Hooker said.
Sugar has a happy and playful demeanor.
“She’s very sweet. She loves people and she’s also very good with other dogs. We just had her out earlier today playing with two other dogs in the yard,” he said.
In fact, Sugar would likely do better in a household that already has a dog. “She’s very submissive, so I think she’d do best with another dog for her confidence level,” Hooker said.
“Sugar is easily adoptable, as long as people understand that she is deaf, and they’ll have to work with that a little. It’s not like any other dog where if something happens you can just yell her name,” he said.
Aside from being willing to accommodate to Sugar’s deafness, she would make a perfect addition to any household.
“She’s adorable. She’s just got a cute little look. And she’s an awesome dog,” he said.
If anyone in the Chestertown community, WC faculty and staff members, or even students with families are interested in rescuing Sugar, please contact the Humane Society of Kent County at 410-778-3648 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org