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Rudy102403.jpg (24113 bytes)Rudy's Journal

Things Happen... or Special Needs in a Small Package 

Skip to Latest Update   Hand signals   Calling Rudy


Reading: Living with a Deaf Dog by Susan Cope Becker


I knew after Brandy died, and because I am so involved with rescue now, that my next dog would be a special needs dog. I already had two healthy, happy males; Charlie and Sammy.

I thought about one of the orthopedic surgery dogs on the site, and then I saw there was a 10 month old deaf white Boxer mix that was still in a kennel.  I volunteered to foster Pupule, and would pick him up on Saturday.  But things happen and I was asked to instead pick up and foster a nameless sick female dog, which later that day was named Maggie Mae.  But again things happen, and Maggie never made it out of the hospital.  

But then I got this phone call about an 8 week old white male pup, and he was deaf.  I thought to myself, special needs in a small package.  So I spent the night on the deaf dog websites, and after some research, decided that I would adopt this little guy.

09/28/03 - After preparing what I could for a puppy, I started to think about a name.  Strange though, since he would never hear his name called.  So it had to be visual.  I went back to the ASL (American Sign Language) alphabet I had found on the internet.  I eliminated the less than easy letters to sign, then eliminated letters that would stand for our names and basic commands.  After much debate, Jim and I agreed to the letter "R", which would stand for Rudy.

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Rudy (NJ)

Rudy was in New Jersey, and we were to meet him for the first time at Ellen's.  It was an hour and a half ride, according to, giving me time to wonder if I was qualified to raise a deaf dog. 


RudyBabyBoyNJ0309d.jpg (22358 bytes)He was cute, adorable, and oh yes, asleep.   Something I would learn to treasure in upcoming days as I recalled what it's like to have a puppy.  (Rudy's DOB - 07/31/03)

Introductions went well with my other two Boxers.  They basically sniffed and then ignored this mini me.  We got back in the car, and now we were a family of five again.

8 wks old:  (~ 12lbs) Just like any other pup...

Rudy is just like any other pup... he doesn't listen.  

I have put a bell on his collar to keep track of him.  It doesn't work when he's sleeping...

PICT0007.JPG (15594 bytes)I am re-thinking Rudy's name... He has climbed out of every place I have put him in!  I am thinking that maybe Houdi, short for Houdini, suits him better.  I have left him for an hour in a crate, while I ran errands. He was out when I got home.  I have tried penning him into the kitchen with barriers, and each time with a bigger barrier, Rudy was out sitting with the other dogs, when I got home.

And he doesn't like not being able to see me.  I read that deaf dogs can have higher separation anxiety because once they can't see you, you can't even reassure them by talking to them, or by leaving a radio on.  

tasmanian_devil.jpg (41895 bytes)And Rudy has an evil twin... If you know what a Tasmanian Devil sounds like, than you know what Rudy sounds like when he's full of mischief.  So sometimes I call him Taz... He's deaf remember, so it really doesn't matter what I call him...


10/04/03 - Rudy went to the 2003 Boxer Bash.

10/06/03 - Buster, (former foster dog  Clay), came for the week to visit, while his mom and dad were away.  At first I was a bit worried because Buster was maybe a bit too interested in Rudy.  In fact the first time I had to leave them alone together, I double barricaded Rudy into the kitchen to make sure Buster wouldn't get to Rudy.  When I came home Buster and my own Boxers came down to greet me, and than ran back up to the top of the stairs and Buster sat down next to Rudy.  Rudy had busted out and was sitting at the top of the stairs.  He was too little to do stairs yet... And from that point on Buster was Rudy's puppysitter, teacher, and best friend.  

10/10/03 - The week has gone too fast and Buster goes home today.  He has been so patient with Rudy, putting up with a lot of Rudy's Taz routines and puppy biting, but has taught Rudy how to play more gently.  He has managed to take the pressure off of Charlie and Sammy, and they seem more at ease with Rudy now.  Buster was so important to Rudy...  and to me!

DVC00196.JPG (15598 bytes)9 wks old: Rudy is doing great with house training.  He almost has me completely trained!  If I remember to get him outside every two hours, he remembers to go outside... I am using the "T" hand shape for toilet to teach Rudy where and when to go.  I will find a picture of one and post it here.  Other signs we are working on are; Happy, Good, Look at me, Come, Sit, and Stay.

Oh, and Rudy can go up steps, but he won't go down them yet.

(10/09/03 - 15lbs. Vet visit - Second Distemper shot)

RUDYat10wks_1260.JPG (10377 bytes)10 wks old: Rudy is sleeping almost through the night.  I have had him in bed with me, so that I could know when he woke, and to get him outside.  Is it really only two weeks that I've had so little sleep?

And now Rudy has found our dog doors!  He's been watching the other guys disappear through the dog doors, and even went to the other side of the dog door to see where they had gone... So smart!  And then he followed Charlie through the downstairs dog door... He's gotten it!

10/20/03 - Sammy and Rudy are playing! Keep-away, Tug-a-war, and Dueling Jaws...

RUDYat11wks_1267.JPG (15199 bytes)11 wks old: This week Rudy learned to do steps going down. He has been able to do steps going up for about two weeks. Soooo....

10/22/03 - ~ 12:00 pm - Rudy was just outside laying on our deck in the sun. When I looked again he was downstairs peeing on the grass! I was so proud... I ran down stairs with treats and praised him...  I thought he was done, so I and Charlie and Sammy went upstairs, but Rudy didn't follow. Instead, Rudy went to the bushes at the side of the yard and he pooped! When he was done, he came upstairs and I gave him big kisses, another treat and praised him! I am one proud Mommie!!!!!! :-) 

RUDYat11wks_1268.JPG (13660 bytes)So I moved a bed into the kitchen, so I could keep an eye on Rudy while working on my computer.  And he's been very good about using it.  But from time to time the other guys have taken a snooze in it.  So Sammy is sleeping in "Rudy's" bed.  Rudy starts his Tasmanian devil routine trying to oust Sammy from the bed.  Sammy is finally learning to ignore him, but Taz is determined.  About 4 inches of bed space is opened by Sammy's butt... Rudy steps on Sammy and squeezes behind him, and within a few minutes it looks like this...

Rudy is getting more independent.  On a friend's suggestion, I have ordered a couple of "key finders".  My plan is to put one on Rudy's collar, and one on my keys.  If I can't find Rudy, I'll press the one on my keys, and if he's within 300 ft of me, he should start to beep and flash a light... And if I loose my keys, I just have to press the one on Rudy's collar, and my keys should start to beep and flash a light... But if Rudy buries my keys... well than I'm in trouble. 

RUDYat12.5wks_1482.JPG (15778 bytes)RUDYat12.5wks_1480.JPG (11763 bytes)10/26/03 - Buster is back for the weekend... Buster, Rudy and Sammy in a three-way tug-of-war!

12 wks old: Rudy and Rain...

Rudy doesn't mind drizzle or even light rain.  But the other night we really had rain! And wind! And Rudy had to go!  I carried him outside, put him down where he's supposed to go, and he gave one quick look behind him, bolted around me, and headed for the dog door.  I caught him just at the door, tried it again, with the same basic results.  So I gave in, hoping he could hold it over night... And he did!

13 wks old: Rudy gets a new collar... His old one won't go any bigger.  We also started to work with a vibration collar.  We are starting out slowly, by giving Rudy a treat immediately after a vibration.  He doesn't seem to be bothered by it and he is very interested in his treats.

11/10/03 - Third Distemper shot, 23 lbs.

11/15/03 and 11/16/03 - Rudy helped us represent AABR at the Gay Life Expo at the Jacob Javits Center, NYC - More Pictures.  He was very well behaved for a young pup at a very busy convention.  He attracted many visitors to the booth, gave out lots of kisses, played with the other rescue and ASPCA pups, and watched intently everything that was going on.

12/11/03 - Rudy's friend Joey, a 10 month old yellow Lab mix, has come to visit while his parents are in New Zealand.  There will be no sleep for the first few nights...

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Rudy helping me take pictures... Rudy at 11.5 weeks old Rudy with the Big Boys
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After a long day at the boxer rescue Gay Life Expo Booth Rudy with Dad Rudy at 13 weeks old Exploring Stalking

12/23/03 - It's been 2 weeks since Joey came to visit, and there is no rest for the weary.  Joey and Rudy have been playing constantly, and when Rudy does try to catch a nap, Joey usually comes along and drags Rudy out of bed. 

12/24/03 - Christmas Eve... Aunt Linda comes over with her new camera and finds Rudy a photogenic and interested subject.  (see Below)

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A little too much eggnog...

Rudy at 21 weeks old

Who stuck this thing on my head?

12/25/03 - It's Rudy's first Christmas!  We travel to Grandma's and Grandpa's and Rudy is a hit.  He's well mannered and quite the little angel with Cricket, an 11 yr old black Lab.  Everyone tries signing to Rudy... = )

At 21 weeks old


At 36 weeks old

01/01/04: Rudy and Charlie and Sammy bring in the New Year sound asleep... Joey went home two days ago, and things are very quiet... 

01/06/04 - I find myself signing to all the dogs now, and they all respond.  I still find it difficult to yell at Rudy from aDCP_1849.JPG (22001 bytes) distance, especially if he's got his back to me.  He loves to grab and run with the dried flowers that are now within reach of him.  He is growing very fast.  I've had some success with throwing a rolled up old sock, weighted with a few pennies.  I'm a pretty good shot, and I can usually hit his backside from across the living room. This method comes from the book "Smarter Than You Think" by Paul Loeb.  Rudy looks at me as if to say "Boy Mom, you have long arms!".  

The hardest part of having a deaf dog is that I want so much to praise him, but often he is looking the wrong way.  I have not spent enough time or effort getting Rudy to check in with me.  When I do have his attention, he watches for every sign I give him, and almost always responds to them.

DCP_1854.JPG (19739 bytes)I purchased a pager vibration collar model 200NCP Gold (Low to medium power), from . It was the smallest model with the best range that I found. But the points on it are so long, I am finding it hard to leave it on Rudy for to long.  The points are actually for the shock portion of the collar, of which I will never use.  The vibration portion doesn't even need the points to be felt, so I am working on modifying the collar.  I'll let you know how it goes.

RudyAndAbby0003.jpg (17308 bytes)RudyAndAbby0010.jpg (80472 bytes)01/21/04 - Rudy meets Abby:  Having an 8.5 yr old and a 4 yr old is way different than having a 6 month old.  Sammy and Rudy play, but not as much as Rudy wants.  So when my friend and fellow AABR volunteer Joanne adopted Abby, formerly Gloria, a 2 yr old energetic female Boxer, we thought we'd introduce Rudy and Abby.

Well the size match up was pretty good since Abby is on the small size.  But it seemed like all Abby wanted to do was hump Rudy.  Then about a half hour into their play time, Rudy figured her out and they just started to play.   OK, maybe from the picture on the left it looks more like Abby is chasing Rudy, but I think Rudy was just playing hard to get.  :-)

02/08/04 - It's been a while since I've updated this page and Rudy is growing fast.  He turned 6 months old on Jan 31st, and a few things have happened that are pertinent to deaf dogs.  

snow0007.jpg (181489 bytes)The first time I really understood the challenge and anxiety a deaf dog guardian can experience is when Rudy decided to explore the ice on top of my Koi pond.  He walked out on it and I couldn't yell at him to halt or come back. As he started to slide, he did turn and look at me and he saw my panicked look and my signing to him to come, and he responded!  I praised him and hugged and kissed him, and visualized what I would have done had he fallen in.  Knowing I had to do something to train him not to walk on the pond, I put his vibration/shock collar on him, and went with him back to the pond.  

Remember how I said I would never use the shock portion of the collar?  Well I changed my mind.  I dialed the knob down to the lowest shock that I could feel, and when Rudy went too close to the pond I pressed the button.  When there was no reaction from Rudy I tried incremental adjustments on the transmitter until he noticed it. He tested going near the pond a few times, and received a small shock each time.  Then he ran away and started playing with a toy.  Great... Success!

Or at least I thought... The next morning Rudy came running through the dog door and into my arms and he was cold and soaked.  I knew immediately that I and he was lucky he was alive!  I threw a towel around him and hugged him, and when he was warm again I looked out at the pond and saw where his foot prints went out onto the pond and where he had fallen through.  The pond is 3.5 feet deep at that point, but I had built it with sloping sides so if the dogs fell in they would hopefully be able to get out.  Thank goodness it worked!

So I've modified the points of the training collar so that I can keep it on Rudy for a longer period of time.  Dogtra, the manufacturer of the collar, recommends moving the dog collar every 2 hours so that the points don't irritate the dog's neck.  This doesn't seem to be practical for use on a deaf dog.DogtraModified.jpg (37927 bytes)

I bought some rounded nuts to replace the points on the collar.  This is what it looks like now.

I'm also working with a dog trainer now. I've never obedience trained a deaf dog before, and I figured I could use the help.  

02/12/03 - Rudy was neutered today.  Dr Luckow said that Rudy went out a little too fast, and that he marked in Rudy's chart that he is sensitive to anesthesia.  He's doing OK, but I don't remember my other dogs licking their stitches so much. I dressed him in my t-shirts to hinder his getting at his stitches.  An e-collar wouldn't work with him going threw the dog doors.RomeoNY0405f.jpg (21503 bytes)

RomeoNY0405b0003.JPG (40754 bytes)05/09/04 - Well it's Mom's day and I somehow felt it appropriate to update this page..

We took in a ~ 10 yr old foster a few days ago.  Romeo (NY) He has a great smile, especially around food time.  No problems with housetraining, and is getting along fine with my 9yr, 4yr and now 9 mo old Rudy.  (Rudy the pup seems to honor his elders, but has to be watched when his devilish twin decides he wants to play!)

Rudy is doing well with the hand signs we have agreed to.  I use less of them than I thought I would.  My fault for not keeping up the practice.  

He is quite the little imp.  I often see items going past the door or window, that I know is somehow associated with Rudy.  Distance is a real problem in communicating with a deaf dog.  I'm a pretty good shot with a water pistil from about 20 feet away.  Most of the time he gives a quick look over his shoulder before he's about to do something he knows he shouldn't.  If I'm watching he puts on this pouty face and walks off not looking at me as to say "I wasn't doing anything..."MauriceNY04020001.jpg (35351 bytes)

RudynMauice.jpg (97676 bytes)And can he play!  He and his friend Maurice, get together on Tuesday's and Thursday's and wrestle for hours.  And now that it's spring, you have never seen a muddier pair then these two.  I'll someday get pictures of it...

Rudy was very unruly at an outdoor dog show a few weeks ago.  He seemed to forget any training he had.  So we will be taking him into crowds more often as part of his training.  

 07/30/04 I can't believe Rudy will be 1 year old tomorrow!

We had a little party for him at work today... Christel brought Maurice in, and she got us some B-day Hats too!  And we had play time and ice-cream. 

07/31/04: We sang Happy Birthday to Rudy, and he wagged his tail as if he could hear it!  Living with a deaf dog, you learn to be more animated in the presentation, and singing in tune doesn't matter... = )

Reflecting on our first year together, I wouldn't change a thing.  Having a deaf dog has it's plus and minuses. 

He hasn't learned to look to me for direction, as much as I would like.  He is a rather independent little imp. But when I get his attention, he is pretty responsive to my hand signals. 

Rudy is well adjusted and good with other dogs.  He is a normal energetic adolescent, and thankfully he has a number of buddies that don't mind playing with the deaf kid with the bloodcurdling vocalizations.  Actually, he has learned to tone down his sounds, and is often very quiet when he plays.  He does however bark loudly at the other dogs, when they are not interested and he wants them to play.

He also is good at his down times.  To his brother's pleasure and relief, he needs long naps, and no amount of noise can disturb this pup!  He'll wake up only when he's good and ready, or when the others jump up and run by him to see who's in the cul-de-sac.  He is also great with thunder storms and other things that go bump in the night. 

thumbnail of your picture 1Rudy is still a bit too enthusiastic about greeting friends who come to the house.  With the frenzy of the other dogs saying hello, Rudy's focus is not on paying attention to hand signals.  Even in greeting the trainer when she first comes in, Rudy has proven difficult to calm down for at least two to three minutes.  He is however good greeting people away from the house, in public situations.  We are working at it.

When it comes to food and treats, Rudy is wonderful.  He sits very nicely when treats are offered. (See party pics below).  He is the last of 4 dogs to receive his meal, and it never occurs to him to try to steal anyone else's food.  He is a counter surfer though.  Only when we are not home, and not for food because we don't leave food down low.  He gets mischievous and looks for things to pull down.  His targets have been dried flowers, cardboard boxes, and even plastic containers filled with water in the sink.  His reach is unbelievable!  He is very tall and lanky, and I've caught him standing on his tip toes reaching for something.  He doesn't hear me coming! = )

But I wouldn't trade him for the world.  He is cuddly and loving and gentle and wonderful.  And he is amazing the way he watches things in a way that a hearing dog doesn't.  He may never tilt his head in that inquisitive way that my other guys do when they hear a sound, but he does stand dead still and focuses those dark eyes on something that catches his attention, that the other guys miss.

What a great year! And Happy B-Day Rudy!!!  Love Mommy.


Charlie and Rudy The crew: Rudy, Charlie, Eddie (aka Romeo), Maurice, and Sammy. The Birthday Boy! His buddy Maurice. Brother Sammy.

First B-Day Party!

Click on Pictures
 to Enlarge
This hat is silly...   Vanilla's my favorite.   Maurice
  Just relaxing. Umm.. Carvel. Playing with Sammy.  

08/26/04 - Rudy's annual check up with vaccinations went well. We have practiced by having Rudy get used to having his ears and mouth inspected.  He was very well behaved with Dr Luchow.

DOB July31, 2003 August 31 September 30 October 31 November 30 December 31 January 31, 2004
days 31 61 92 122 153 184
weeks 4 8.5 13 17.5 22 26
months 1 2 3 4 5 6
weight   09/17/03-  12lbs 10/09/03-  15lbs 11/09/03-  23lbs 12/21/03-  33lbs 38


March April May June July
months 7 8 9 10 11 12
weight 41 lbs 42 lbs 44 lbs 48 lbs 51 lbs 54 lbs
Hand Signals/Signs introduced new = 27 knows/reacts to... = 13
8 wks Rudy, toilet, come, NO, happy, good/thumbs up  
9 wks sit, stay, look at me happy, toilet, good/thumbs up
10 wks car NO, sit
11 wks play, food/eat food/eat
12 wks sleep, finished/done finished/done
13 wks off, up come
14 wks water, bad, drop, drop!, drop!! = ) off
15 wks wash, love, sorry, work, rain, thankyou car ride
18 wks easy/gentle water, wash
21 wks Give me five/Shake Give me five/Shake
26 wks   stay
Note: Rudy and I have modified and made up our own hand signals for some signs that didn't work for us or feel natural, such as NO.  He reacts to me shaking my index finger.
Helpful Links 
Deaf Dog Humor: You know you have a deaf dog when... 


09/16/04:  The best thing happened this week, and some people may not understand...But if you are here, I know you'll understand! 

Charlie, my 9.5 yr old male, and Rudy just started to PLAY!!!!!!!!!
Charlie has gone from barely tolerating him as a pup, to eventually standing up to Rudy's bossy attitude.
A few months ago, Rudy was finally able to egg Charlie into chasing him around the yard.  And usually Charlie would go from growling at him while running, to having a big smile on his face as the chase proceeded.

But this past Tuesday, they actually wrestled and rolled around the grass for over an hour!  And they both took turns on the ground, and both had big smiles on their faces.
And then they did it again yesterday!

It brought tears to my eyes... You don't think I'm nuts, do you?



Letter from a Friend:

You have now seen first hand the amazing wonder of animal communication.  Charlie HAD to keep Rudy at bay - every instinct in Charlie's body told him that if he allowed this young snot nose any leeway, then his role in the pack would be diminished severely.  So Charlie had to allow Rudy to grow up and completely understand and live by the rules and the number one rule has been 'don't screw around with Charlie'. 

Well, apparently, Rudy has grown into a confident boy and not only is Charlie not feeling threatened by him, but he's grooming him to take over more responsibility in the pack.  Rudy had to learn that you don't demand attention from the older/wiser pack members - only they are allowed to demand attention.  So, what Charlie is showing you is that Rudy has become a young adult and therefore qualifies for young adult benefits. 

I don't think you're crazy at all!  I've done my share of crying and laughing with my own (or some fosters) when *I* finally see what the heck they're 'talking' about.   Congratulations on obviously doing a great job with Rudy - Charlie thinks he's OK.


07/31/05 - Rudy turned 2 today!

He has turned into the best dog tester an AABR volunteer could ask for.  Rudy goes to all our home visits to help us check out the compatibility of an existing dog to other dogs.  I'm pretty sure he knows when he's going to work.  And when he gets there, he works hard to make sure that an existing dog is ready to accept a companion.  He also acts as a very handsome ambassador for white and deaf dogs.  LOL.

 RomeoNY0405ff.jpg (23462 bytes)Romeo (NY) AKA "Eddy" - Update - 05/04/06

Eddy's favorite times of the day were meal times!  Eddy galloped over to a slightly larger than usual dinner tonight, finished it off with his usual smile, went over to his bed, laid down, and passed on.

We will miss him dearly.

Sandy, (Foster mom & Adoptive mom to Eddy - 05/04/04 - 05/04/06)

05/15/06 - One sign that I seem to use all the time with Rudy that I have not documented here, is my "go this way" signal.  It is simply my opened hand gesturing in the direction that I wish Rudy to go.  Since Rudy must wait for further instructions before going somewhere, I use it to tell him it is OK to get into or out of the car, or through a door way, or to allow him to eat after he has sat for his food bowl, or even to ask him to come up on the couch with me.  It's kind of an instinctive signal, that I probably use more than any sign other than "Good Dog".  Just thought you'd like to know.

06/17/06 - A creature of comfort! This is with the air-conditioning turned on high...

07/31/06 - Rudy turned 3 today! We got him a Life Jacket to see if that might help him learn to swim... He swims like a rock!  I don't think he thinks it was much of a gift... LOL  He also got some Carvel ice-cream with his pal Maurice!

08/16/06 -

A discussion on food, bloat and allergies Rudy and I thought you might be interested in...

Linda wrote:

Hi Sandy....

I have Layla adopted from your rescue....she is on Science Diet and I would like to change her food as I heard Science diet has a lot of fillers and preservatives....I heard fillers can cause bloat. Can you recommend some brands of dog food maybe one you use? Also, do you soak the food first? Add canned food?  Thanks for your time.....Linda


Hi Linda,
Got your last email and your donation, and wanted to personally thank you for your donation.  We will use Marshmallow’s name to name a dog that needs a new one.

On food and bloat...

They are really not sure what causes bloat in dogs, and recently the information has changed.  We were all told that raising the dog's dish and soaking their dry food would help prevent bloat.  My friend’s boxer recently bloated, and one of our rescues', Grant, just died from it, so I started to research it again.

They now have found that dogs in a study that had raised bowls were more apt to bloat!  And wetting the food didn't seem to be  a factor.

What do seem to be factors are:

  1. The age of the dog... older dogs are more prone to it
  2. The size ratio of the chest to the waist of the dog... Boxers fall into that category
  3. The speed at which they eat... Dogs that inhale their food are more prone.
  4. And the Size of meal - two small meals are better than feeding an entire daily portion in one large meal

1 and 2 we can do nothing about.  But I have started to spread or press my 11 yr old boxer's food against the sides of his bowl before putting it down.  Like you would make a pie crust...  It seems to slow him down. 

I also plan on cutting down their raised bowls a bit... my oldest and fastest eater, Charlie, eats out of a stand that is 10" high ... the other two eat out of stands that are 13" high, but Sammy eats at a normal speed and Rudy takes forever to finish!

As for what type of food I feed my guys...

I now feed them all Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Allergy formula because Rudy has skin allergies and this was the first food that I've found that seems to help with that problem.  It is also available in Petco and in some pet food stores in my area.  I also noticed that their "gas" problems have basically vanished on this food.  The allergy formulas are the duck and the venison food.  I feed a mix of both dry and canned food along with small portions of 'real' food like cottage cheese, applesauce, and cheerios in the AM, and rice and veggies in the PM.  I’ve always fed them some portion of ‘real’ food with the manufactured dog food.  Until the 1960s when the meat packing industry decided it needed a market for food humans wouldn’t eat, our pets all used to get ‘real food’… And not just table scraps.  A portion of the family dinner was used to feed Fido.  But now with high pressured advertising, people who feed their pets ‘real food’ have been villainized by the pet food industry.   

I hope this helps...
Feel free to contact me with any questions... That is what we are here for!
PS Give Layla a big hug for me.


Linda wrote:

Just wanted to thank you for the advice on the dog food.  My daughter’s dog RJ was covered with hives on and off all summer.  I told her about your dog Rudy’s allergies and the Dick Van Patten allergy food. She put RJ on the Venison and rice and the hives are all gone and he is so shiny now....She wanted me to e-mail you and thank you for her.....she was so tired of going to the vet for the cortisone shots....Layla is happy too because now she is getting little add ins of "real" food which I had never done before....Thanks so much for your help......Linda and Tara


Dear Linda,

I also went the cortisone route with Rudy.  My vet said it was a contact allergy because it was on Rudy's belly and paws.  The cortisone worked but I couldn't stand the idea of giving Rudy cortisone for the rest of his life.  I went looking for an allergy food.  My pet food store was no help.  I think that if he didn't carry it, he didn't want me to know about it.  I stopped in at another pet food store and they suggested Dick Van Patten's allergy food.  I don't want this to sound like a commercial, but it really worked.  He is so much better. 

He still has times when he seems to have some itching and runny eyes and nose.  I try to give him only the allergy formula treats, but he likes his milkbones.  And he probably has allergies from pollen and other things.  And as I told you, "real" food is a part of their daily diet. So Rudy, per my vet's suggestion, can get two 25 mg benadryl caplets, three times a day if needed. 

Please be sure to check with your vet before starting him on benadryl.

03/19/07 - The dog food recall has got me scared, but Natural Balance is not on it so I guess we are ok.

04/19/07 - Natural Balance allergy food just got recalled!  AaHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
I've started cooking for my dogs.  I went out and got some chicken and chuck steaks.  I'm reading up on the Raw Food diet, but I don't know enough about it.  I'm cooking the meat lightly for now... No bones... I've read you have to give bones raw, or they will splinter.

05/15/07 - I've found that if you look for sales, feeding real food to the dogs is not much more expensive than the premium dog food I had been feeding.  I tried them on Nature's Variety frozen Raw food patties, and it was easy and they liked them, but it was too expensive.  So now I have read up on the raw food diet, (Give Your Dog A Bone), and other internet sources, and they are getting raw chicken wings, raw beef, some organ meats, and veggies chopped in a blender, along with raw eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, and some fruit... mostly bananas.

07/31/07 - Rudy turned 4 today! We got him some Carvel ice-cream with his pal Maurice!


08/23/07 - There are some new gps pet finder products out there or soon to be released that might help owners of deaf dogs out in the event of the dogs getting lost...

I'll try to keep you advised as I learn more about them. 

Emails to the manufacturer of Petcell:

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2007 3:44 PM
Subject: Petcell availability

I have a deaf boxer and am interested in purchasing the Petcell...
Please advise price and availability.

Sandy Trehy

Andy Gritti wrote:

We appreciate your interest in  our forthcoming PetCell tracking/cellular
device for pets. We are getting very close to launching a consumer grade
model and ask you to check our web site later in the fall for more specifics

.	Pricing specifics will not be announced until the actual launch
.	The first version to be released will only work with larger pets 
(35lbs or larger) until version 2.0 is available in a much smaller design for the smaller pet.
.	Plans are to launch the product in North America first before
rolling out to other countries.

.	Be sure to join our pet lovers online community at .
It's free !

The Sales Dept.


Thanks Andy,

Will the petcell have a vibrate mode as well as a ring tone mode like cell phones?  I think I would want a vibrate mode to recall my deaf dog Rudy, should he get out. Do you have to "call" the petcell to just test if it is working and to locate where it is? It might be confusing to a dog to have the ring tone or vibration go off if the pet owner was just doing a routine check to see if it was working.  The alert "call" would be in the opposite direction if the pet left the "efence" area, so I am assuming the collar would not "ring" or vibrate in that instance.  Please advise.

I have been watching your product and also looking at Globalpetfinder, but the cell phone idea sounds like a step ahead of that product.  I presently have a vibrating collar, but don't want to have to use both products on my guy's neck.  Size is a consideration, even for the large breeds.

Are you looking for any beta testers to give early feedback on your product?  I have three boxers, the youngest being a 4 yr old deaf male, and have a boxer rescue organization in the northeast, .  ~25% of all boxers litters are white, and ~12% of all whites are deaf.  This product could have a market with those of us who worry about their deaf dogs getting lost. We deal with quite a few deaf boxers, and also many hearing boxers that came in as strays and may never have needed our service if the owners had a device like petcell.

Sandy Trehy


This is a very sad day. 

My oldest... my soul mate... my Charlie, passed on.  He knew every word I said... He knew every emotion I had... I miss him now... I will miss him always
At 5 years old At 12.5 yrs old


12/10/07: Someone I met told me about a butcher shop near by that has switched to selling ground up meat for pets.  I now buy 10 five pound bags of either chicken, duck, turkey, beef or lamb every two weeks. They have ground up bones and veggies mixed in, but I still add stuff to it.  I also buy bags of chicken necks and they get 2 a day, each. They will deliver in the tri-state area.  I feed about 1.5 lbs per day per dog.

Check out their website... ARMELLINO'S
Besides increased health and vitality, feeding a raw diet allows pets to digest their meals properly. This means less digestive upsets and less waste. Raw food diet is free of hormones and antibiotics; Huntington Station, N.Y. (631)271-6599.


Mia has come to visit while her family is away on vacation.  She is 14 months old and a bit on the wild side, but sooo cute... especially when she is sleeping!  She is not getting along with another female in her home.  This is a test to see if she may do better without the other female around.

03/02/08: This would have been Charlie's 13th birthday.  Mia has now found her forever home and will be known as Katie to us, her new family.


05/02/08: Rudy and Mia - Best friends and playmates.

Katie - DOB 12/21/06

05/05/08: Calling Rudy

After many other attempts at using location devices, Rudy now has his own cell phone.  It's not that he gets out... It's just that the one time a section of fence blew down and Rudy found it before I did, I felt helpless not being able to call for him to find him.

Since my phone plan was ready for a free new phone, and I didn't need one, I got a new line with Verizon's "chaperone" service and a small "Juke" for Rudy.  I have set up 2 "zones" so far... one for my home, and one for my office.  When we or Rudy leave or enter a zone, my cell phone which is the parent phone, gets a text message alerting me.  I can also "locate" him and it gives me a street address that he is closest to.  It uses GPS and cell phone technology to locate the "child" phone.  It works... My only problem so far is not knowing exactly when the battery is low.

ok... So he is really not too hard to find when he is sleeping in the living room, but sometimes he's asleep out on the deck, or in the grass, or under the covers.  And when he's not sleeping, he can be out in the yard in the bushes or trees or ... well you know...I just want to know where he is... = )

08/31/08 - Rudy turned 5 today! We got him some Carvel ice-cream with his pal Maurice!

12/21/08 - Katie - DOB 12/21/06 turned 2 today!  She and Rudy wrestle and play every day.  Rudy's cell phone has been found out in the back yard on a number of occasions, without Rudy.  Katie uses his collar to swing him around while playing, and I've yet to come up with a solution for that... She is just a pest to Sammy.


07/28/09 - As Rudy is now less of a work in progress, his journal can become more about his siblings and less about being deaf. 

This is Katie, below, who I found in the living room this morning making herself comfortable as you can see...  but by tonight she was up to her usual antics, keeping me forever wondering what is going on in her head. 

I saw her come up the stairs, and make a left... I heard her barking at something down the hallway near our bedrooms.  I looked down the hall and right along side an iron statue of a turtle I use to hold open doors, was something that Katie brought in from our backyard... see second picture down.

Katie has brought me all creatures, live and dead.  That is one of the drawbacks of having dogdoors.  But she always brings them to the doorway of the kitchen.  For some reason, Katie believed this location was a better place to leave this "gift".  I will try not to read too much into this, but I am left wondering who she was giving this gift to.

07/31/09 - Rudy turned 6 today! He loves his vanilla ice-cream with his pal Maurice!

07/31/10 - Wow that year blew by too fast... Happy 7th B-Day Rudy. - Rocky is an old friend, and now my latest foster.  I placed him in a home 5 years ago, at age 3.  Rocky has separation anxiety and doesn't like to be home alone for long periods of time.  Rocky spends time between friends so he doesn't have to be home alone, and has started medication and training for his SA.

 We have some new pictures of this handsome guy.  Rocky's great with kids and has a new best friend with Matthew.  They played ball together, and Rocky knows how to bring the ball back and sit before running and fetching the ball again. He also entertains himself with a ball acting more like a 2 or 3 year old than the 8 year old he is.

He was at the Commack Petsmart Adoptathon this past weekend, and was great with big and small dogs, and all the kids and adults that wanted to meet him.   We were set up next to a cat rescue, and Rocky wasn't phased at all by the cats and kittens right next to him.

Rocky comes to work with me and is very content just to relax under my desk, or as you can see in the photo (right), he stretches out (I call it "long doggin it"), and chews on a tennis ball or bone.

Rocky is doing well with his SA training, and needs someone who will continue the progress he has made in a very few short weeks.  Please consider this great guy for your family.

4/4/11 - Happy Beginning for Rocky

So an application came in with Rocky NY2 as the first preference... And when asked what drew the applicant to Rocky, he said "We just wanted to rescue a senior dog that was being overlooked by other adopters."  He had written in is app "We love boxers and we have a great setup. Can't imagine an adult boxer without a family. Can't imagine our family without a boxer. Rescuing is a tribute to two of the greatest dogs on the planet (our formers, of course)."

And so it goes that way sometimes.  We had no luck for Rocky for more than seven months, and than he hits the jackpot! Richard and Doreen have two of the biggest hearts around, and wanted to give Rocky the forever home he so deserves.  Rocky warmed the hearts of every volunteer that met him, and now he's warming two of the biggest hearts we've met. 

Richard, Doreen and Rocky know what it means to really rescue a dog.  Thank you!

08/2011 - Very sad news... Rocky was recently diagnosed with Lung cancer.  A bunch of his friends recently went to visit with him and his family... At first he was very quiet, but then, for the first time in a few weeks, he started to play with his ball, giving it to each of us to roll for him.  A few days later he passed. 

 07/15/12 - Sammy

 Adding another collar to the box…
Animal rescue has given me the most satisfaction and fulfillment in my life, along with the greatest sadness and anger. The sadness and anger comes when we get a mistreated, or sick, or un-socialized dog into rescue. It also comes when we get a perfectly good and healthy dog that an owner is no longer committed to. Pure bred dogs are the results of intentional actions by humans. The decision to add an animal to a family should come with a lifetime commitment, but less than 20% of all dogs will live out their lives in the first home they start with.

It may sound strange but it turns out that the greatest fulfillment I have is when I get that phone call or email telling me that their beloved boxer, the one they adopted from us years ago, has passed on. Only then, am I certain that what we did was really successful.

And I have a thing about dog collars. My foster dogs mostly have gone on to their forever homes with new collars. I knew that their families would probably want to pick out their own collar to welcome them to their home. But I wanted the old collar they wore while with me as a memory. I save the old ones in a box.

I got Sammy in the spring of 2002. He was only two and a half years old, and it was my job as his foster home to care for and to find him his forever home. I brought him to a number of home visits, and twice, he was matched with his new family. The first home was a nice family with kids and a young “out of control” female boxer. We offered some tips for their dog, and we agreed that Sammy might even be a good role model for her. The day of the adoption, they called to say they had given great consideration to adopting Sammy and realized how well behaved he was compared to their existing boxer. Wisely, they decided to work on getting better control over her before taking on a second dog. A few weeks later... on the day he was to go to a different matched home, I got a call saying that their young female boxer had fainted, and their vet suspected a heart condition. A second dog would have to wait.

It was my friend and fellow rescue volunteer Joanne, who convinced be that Sammy was meant to stay with me... and I thank her for not letting me miss the opportunity to have him a part of our family. He lived to be snuggled with, and was pretty good at finding a willing lap to put his head on. He was always very healthy, and was always doing something funny to entertain me. Sammy could use his front paws like hands. His siblings always stood back as Sammy opened doors for them to go through. And within a few days of Brandy's passing, Sammy took up the sport of barking and pouncing on rocks. That was Brandy's thing, and he had never done it while she was alive.
I’m not one for often changing my own dog’s collars. I pick out something conservative… For my last few boxers, I’ve gone with leather. It’s comfortable, and ages nicely with time… and lasts a life time. At the end of that life time, those collars also go in the box.

On Sunday July 15, 2012, my sweet Sammy could no longer walk or stand, and he was having a hard time breathing. Our vet came to the house at 1pm and Sammy went peacefully. Sammy would have been thirteen in September.

07/31/12 - Rudy turned 9 today! He loves his vanilla ice-cream , and shared it with Katie! I can't believe I've been writing this for 9 years...

Latest Update:

12/20/12 - Rudy - way too early and unexpectedly has started to fail.  Always pretty healthy, he started having trouble getting in and out of the car and then just standing.  Dr Templeton and a neurologist seem to agree that it is not good.  But on Meds, Rudy has responded well. We aim to keep him around for awhile... as long as he is feeling well.

Rudy 12/23/2012 - 2 days after starting Prednisone Video 1 (I was so happy to see him on his feet)


Rudy 1/05/2013 - Today! Video 2 (Katie has been very good with Rudy and this play was started by him.)


06/20/13 -It has been 6 months since Rudy started to fail, and he is still with us!  Per doctors orders, he is being slowly weaned down to the lowest dose of Pred that we think he can manage.  He has lost a  lot of hair, but is doing well and we think he is just as beautiful as the first day we got him. 


07/12/2013  Remembering Maurice

A friend passed last night, and it made me remember back nine years ago when we first met him.  We had gotten a few emails on an adolescent male boxer that was living in a crate in the middle of a small pet shop / bodega in Brooklyn.  They were persistent and said they would meet us there.  We learned that day about a secondary trade in older pet shop dogs that either didn't sell as puppies or were returned.

The boxer in the crate was standing with his back almost touching the top.  He stood on the wire bottom and under him were dirty newspapers.  After some negotiations, the boxer was ours.  He walked meekly out of his crate, looked at us, and wagged his tail a little.  We lifted him into our car, and drove him towards his new life.  As we turned onto the Expressway, we started to discuss his new name.  The first exit sign we saw was for Maurice Avenue, and that was it... his name would be Maurice.

Maurice quickly worked his way into his foster families heart.  He  had to learn to go outside, and for a long time had issues with men, but he was great with the young children in the home and with his foster sister, a beagle named Tasha.  They adopted him, which was great for me because Maurice got to come with his mom to the office and play with my boxers.  Maurice was quite a character and would run circles around the conference table to instigate play.

Maurice recently got a new sibling, Molly, a tiny Shih Tzu pup. Now ten years old, it was a bit of a shock for him. But he started to relish the little antagonist and the games they played.  He was lucky to have her, as she was to have him...  We all were lucky to have him.

The Maurice Avenue sign has always stood for more since that day.  It represents the new life we give to so many dogs, and the new life they give back to us. 

We will miss you Maurice.

Thank you to his family and to all the families and friends of the dogs of AABR.

07/31/14 - Rudy turned 11 today! Rudy is my Comeback Kid and every day I think I am the luckiest person in the world to have Rudy in my Life.  He drags his back toes and sometimes walks on his knuckles, but he never complains.  He still loves his vanilla ice-cream , and shared it with Katie! I can't believe I've been writing this for 11 years...


Rudy - July 31 2003 to Apr 07 2015

He spent almost every hour of every day with me for the last eleven and a half years. I was so afraid that I wouldn’t do right by him… But he always seemed to have a plan. He didn’t always listen, but it wasn’t because he was deaf.
Tonight a part of me died. I had to let Rudy go… I don’t know what I will do without him. My hearts aches.


I loved you more than I could ever have imagined. You were so beautiful. You were so smart. You made me see the world through those beautiful dark eyes of yours. I will miss you so much.
Thank you for all the wonderful times we shared… for all the silly head stands you did… for helping me rescue other boxers… and for all that you taught me.
Love always,


To be continued... not so sure

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