Why do some people feel like pets are disposable? It’s a mystery, but according to the American Humane Association, 7.6 million dogs and cats enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and very few are actually brought in by former owners.
Most are found as strays or rescued from terrible conditions, like this dog that was found in a locked pet carrier.
Unfortunately, some of the dogs that are abandoned or taken to shelters because they are disabled and are difficult to train. One of the ways dogs inherit handicaps is by being born with the merle gene twice.
A merle dog, or a dog with the merle gene, is easy to spot. They typically have blue eyes, or one blue eye, and their solid-colored coats have large marbled patches of two other colors.
They’re beautiful to the eye, but you never want to breed one merle with another, or each puppy in the litter has a 25% chance of being born a double merle. A double merle turns the dog white and greatly increases its chance of being deaf, blind, or both. Breeders view these dogs as throwaways. They are sometimes killed at birth or marketed as “rare” and sold to people who don’t know they are buying a puppy who could have challenges.
In the best possible scenario they’re dumped at shelters, yet sometimes they’re not. Fortunately, this story of a nearly discarded double merle dog has a happy ending, though the dog’s new owner does have some harsh words for the woman who had abandoned the dog. Keep reading until the end to see what she had to say!
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This is Echo. She is a double merle Great Dane who is deaf.
She looks like a happy, healthy dog now. But when her owner, Marion Dwyer, first saw her in March of 2014, on a group chat, Echo looked like this:
Marion instantly “fell in love with [the] scrawny white Great Dane puppy” whose former owner relinquished her to the Louisiana Great Dane Rescue, after she deemed the dog “useless" and said she wasn't able to deal with her due to her deafness.
Marion adopted her, and a year later, she shared Echo’s story on Facebook, in hopes that people will think before giving up on pets.
“Echo (that’s what we named her) is the product of a backyard breeder in Tulsa, OK who didn’t know or didn’t care what happens when you breed two merle Great Danes together,” she wrote on Facebook.
“I won’t go into all kinds of health and genetic details but long story short, they ended up with a bunch of white puppies in the litter. We know for sure that at least two of them are deaf. And both were saved.”
“Echo was carried into my girlfriend’s house and her tail was wagging before she had even set foot onto the floor. And it hasn’t stopped ever since. She has to be the happiest dog I have ever met.”
“The people that took her home as a ‘gift’ from her breeder really don’t know what they are missing out on. If they somehow come past this page, I want to say THANK YOU for bringing her into our life.”
“She may have been tiny and skinny but her big, loving heart showed immediately. Seeing every bone in that little body of hers made me feel sick and angry. I wanted to pick her up and hold her, but was afraid to hurt her. Yet she wasn’t scared at all.”
“She took a look around her new environment, walked up to me and gave me lots of puppy kisses. Then she went on to greet our two other Great Danes and it seemed as if they’ve known each other already. That’s when I knew she belonged to us.”
“Training her might have been a challenge for the first few days but it was more than worth it as she rewards us with unconditional love throughout the whole day.”
“Every person and dog she meets is a new friend and she treats everybody the same. I wish her breeder and first owner would have given her a chance to show that she is worth to be loved, that she matters.”
“But now that she is with us she will never have to starve again and she will only know love, just like our two other girls. Please support your local shelters and rescue. They deal with heartbreak and anger on a daily basis.”
Marion went on her personal blog and wrote an open letter to Echo’s previous owner. This is what she had to say:
“To the girl that “had to get rid of” the nameless and “useless, not able to deal with” puppy with a belly full of rocks a year ago: Thank you for giving her to rescue instead of putting her down like you had threatened in your Facebook post. I just want you to know that she’s safe, although I doubt that you care. Because you didn’t care that she was hungry or thirsty. Didn’t care that she was filthy. Didn’t care that she was deaf. You did care that she was a free puppy and took her home from the BYB who is just as guilty as you are.
Did you comfort her when she cried the first night she was away from her mother and siblings? Did you hold and pet her when she got scared in her new “home”? I like to think that you did do at least that for her. I don’t know if it was you or her “breeder” who decided to spay her at 6/7 weeks old. But I want you to know that she doesn’t seem to have suffered any damage from that surgery at a way too early age.
She is only alive because of the Louisiana Great Dane Rescue that always keeps an eye out for dogs that are discarded like her. And we are happy that they chose us to adopt Echo. See, that’s what we named her. We figured even though she is deaf she deserves a name, just like any other pet or person… Do you know that she knows a bunch of ASL signs that we use to communicate with her? I doubt you even still think of her anymore. She gets three meals a day and it took me a long time to get her to trust me that there will ALWAYS be another meal and that she doesn’t have to eat rocks and other things she found outside. And that she doesn’t have to try and drink as much water until she got sick because there would always be more water later.
Yes, she is very spoiled and may not always “listen” to me when I tell her to do something but she sure couldn’t be any more loved. She is my heart dog and every person and dog that meets her loves her immediately. I am working with her on therapy dog training to get her registered as a Therapy Dog so I can take her to all kinds of places where she can bring love and joy to people in need of just that. I just wanted you to know that she’s safe and loved, even though you will probably never get to read these words.”
Please SHARE this with everyone you know and inspire more people to adopt and take responsibility for their pets!