Deaf Man Teaches Commands In Sign Language To His New Best Friend, A Deaf Puppy

by Kim Wong-Shing
Kim Wong-Shing is a staff writer at LittleThings. Her work spans beauty, wellness, pop culture, identity, food, and other topics. She is a contributing writer at NaturallyCurly, and her work has also appeared in HelloGiggles, Lifehacker, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and other outlets. She grew up in Philadelphia, attended Brown University, and is now based in New Orleans.

Emerson the black Labrador puppy was the last one in his litter to remain at North Florida Rescue in Maine.

That’s probably because Emerson, unlike his sibling pups, was born deaf.

Deaf dogs like Emerson make amazing pets, and contrary to popular belief, they’re not much harder to train. But for the average person looking for a puppy, the differences can be intimidating.

“He is left wondering why no one wants to give him a forever home,” the rescue wrote alongside Emerson’s photo.

“He wants everyone to know that even though he may be deaf, he is still an AMAZING little pup with SOO much love to give!”

Eventually, a man named Nick Abbott came along to give Emerson his forever home. He understood the pup as no one else had so far — because he, too, is deaf.

“I was drawn to him right away because we have similarities,” Nick told Inside Edition. “I felt like because I know what it’s like to be deaf, I could understand him.”

Nick was hesitant about adopting Emerson for a different reason: He already had a 7-year-old yellow Lab at home. He wasn’t sure about taking on the responsibility of a second dog, let alone a puppy. But he couldn’t stop thinking about Emerson.

“I decided I should at least go meet him and see. I walked in and he came right to me and sat on my foot. It was like he already knew me… That’s the moment that I knew.”

The two are now inseparable. Nick has been teaching Emerson commands in sign language, and the pup is catching on quickly.

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