Self-Taught Guide Dog for the Deaf

My family had two dachshunds. This story is about the fabulous Cleo II, who lived with us for 17 years, until we had to put her to sleep because of age-related problems. My brother John was born profoundly deaf. He learned how to lip-read and sign, and eventually graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in Industrial Engineering. He grew up with Cleo. By some mysterious means, she realized that he was deaf. Whenever the doorbell rang, she would rush at John’s legs, run around, bark until she got his attention, and would then lead him to the door. She would do the same thing if the phone rang. John would then attach his TTY unit to the phone, and try to pick up a call.
I know that specialized guide dogs for the deaf are being trained now. They require immense effort to train, and are worth huge amounts of money. However, Cleo—because of her intelligence and terrific empathy—somehow managed to train herself to help out a member of the family. We still mourn her. She had more personality than most humans I have met.

Susan from NJ

cleo II