As for the title of this post… well, a week ago last Friday I took Jet to the vet. Why, you might ask? Well, for a long time now, probably for over a year, I’ve noticed something strange about Jet. Usually only when we go to the dog park or the big walking dog park, Tanner. When he could get off leash and run amok. And, like the young boy he is, he’d get excited and lose track of me. I didn’t take him to parks for about the first year of his life because of that. And because he’s a small dog and I worry about him with all the big dogs.
He was fine with the other dogs. However, sometimes it seemed as though he wasn’t able to tell where the sound of my voice was coming from. And yeah, I know that young dogs will find a smell or something that is more interesting than me, and ignore me. However, when Jet got worried, and was looking for me, it was like he couldn’t tell where the sound of my voice was coming from. In one instance he was stuck down a very short ledge by the river. And he was fighting to get out, whining, and looking for me. When I called to him… he looked exactly opposite of where I was. So this, among other things, made me wonder.
A couple of weekends ago I met my obedience trainer at a very metal, very hollow building that we had the opportunity to train in. We trial there sometimes and thought it would be a good place to train. However, the building echoed so very much, that Jet was upset and spooky and afraid. He’s never afraid! I brought up the issue of his hearing to my friend and training once again. I said maybe he has diminished hearing in one ear. She thought about it and called me later, and said she thought he was probably completely deaf in one ear.
Ugh. Well, I’m glad she told me. I was thinking of getting him BAER tested, but with all the hrmph and hawing I got from most people (not all, I had some people who did believe me) I had decided not to. Well after this conversation I changed my mind and decided to have the test done.
The Friday before the flyball tournament I did and, low and behold, Jet is completely deaf in his left ear.
The flyball tournament distracted me from feeling one way or another. But since we’ve been back, I’ve been going back and forth between being super sad, and thinking well, it is what it is, and we just live with it. It’s really hard to know he is unilaterally deaf (deaf in one ear). If you didn’t know him really well, you couldn’t tell. It won’t affect his sports at all. He has functional hearing, so according to the AKC he can compete. I think AKC should allow bilaterally deaf (deaf in both ears) dogs to compete too, but they don’t. Hopefully that will change in the future.
I will have to take into account his unilateral deafness when we train. Like rear crosses in agility (which I have noticed he is taking longer to learn than my other dogs did), and tunnels, and other places he can’t see me well. But flyball and obedience… it shouldn’t affect him all in those sports. Nor in K9 Nose Work. And he might not be a hiking dog that goes off leash much. Mostly for his own safety. But he has enough to do to keep him entertained, I think!
Where did the deafness come from? It’s nearly impossible to know. It’s probably congenital (he had it from birth). It may be inherited, though his breeder knows of no deafness in his lines, or any other Danish-Swedish Farmdogs, for that matter. Unless I can guarantee it’s not inherited, he won’t be bred. We sure don’t need any deaf Farmdogs being bred. Gotta stop those problems when a breed is just starting, instead of trying to fix them when the breed already has it as a big problem.
So anyway, I’m getting better about dealing with it. LOL which is funny, because he deals with it just fine every day. I do wish I knew what things sounded like to him. I’ve walked around the house with my left ear plugged, and things do sound very odd, but I’m sure sound gets in that ear anyway so I don’t really know what his world sounds like. I hope he’s okay. He acts okay, he is his happy goofy carefree self. So I have to go with that and figure he’s just a fine happy boy. His happiness is paramount to me. Maybe if I hang some cute Beads on his collar, it’d make me laugh some more. But really he seems fine every day. And I just will need to make sure he’s safe and doesn’t go into scary places that will make him uncomfortable.
It’s good that I know about it now. It will help me to help him be safe and happy for his whole life. He is my baby boy.