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Deaf Girl Uses ASL To Communicate With Pet Dog

VIDEO: Deaf News - Deaf Albuquerque girl uses American Sign Language to communicate with pet dog.

KRQE ALBUQUERQUE -- A Deaf New Mexico girl is using sign language to communicate with her pet dog. “She does everything with him,” said Neeva’s mom Chelsea Goff. While Neeva, 4, eats, her dog Baxter cleans up her crumbs. When it’s time to go outside and play, he is by her side.

“He is just always with her. If she’s asleep in bed, we can guarantee that he is in her room with her,” said Goff. Neeva and Baxter aren’t your average pair.

“We found out right away after she was born that she didn’t have hearing,” said Goff. Neeva goes to the New Mexico School for the Deaf in Santa Fe. She communicates using sign language. “So really that is our primary language with her, therefore it’s her primary language with our animals,” said Goff.

Goff went to Animal Humane of New Mexico in August to find a dog that could fit in with her family, particularly one that had enough patience to care for Neeva.

“They had some animals that they thought would fit with our family and sure enough Baxter was one of them,” she said. “It was kind of that love at first sight kind of thing, so we brought him home and things have been great.”

Neeva has taught Baxter how to sit, stay and even go using sign language. Goff said Baxter listens most of the time especially if there is a treat involved.

“To watch them interact and really have active communication is really spectacular to watch,” said Goff. She also said the constant communication between the two has helped Neeva with her signing.

“In the Deaf community you get a sign name and it is usually assigned to you by another Deaf community member, so Neeva gave Baxter his sign name,” she said. Goff said the pair’s relationship is a silent one, yet powerful. Neeva’s family got Baxter for free from Animal Humane after another family who fell in love with him at the shelter, but couldn’t have him paid for his adoption fee. Source

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