Most dogs know how to sit, stay, and roll over. But one 10-year-old girl is teaching her dog a new trick — sign language.
Julia Vasquez was born hearing impaired. So was a terrier/chihuahua mix puppy named Walter. The two met after Walter (originally named Cotton) was brought to the Pasadena Humane Society shelter in December alongside four siblings. Only five weeks old when they were brought to the shelter, the puppies lived in foster homes until they were ready for adoption.
On December 31, Julia's mom, Chrissy Vasquez, saw a picture and description of Walter on the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA Facebook page. That same day, she contacted the shelter via Facebook and arranged a meeting. "I remember just looking at him, and I just — I knew," Chrissy said in a recent video. "He was meant to be ours."
In less than a week, the adoption was finalized.
After the Vasquezes brought Walter home, he and Julia began to form "one amazing bond," according to Chrissy.
Building on that special connection, Julia started teaching Walter traditional obedience commands using sign language a few months ago. "I never let her [Julia] feel any different because of her hearing loss," Chrissy said in a statement. "And it's amazing how she is doing the same with Walter."
To inspire others and hopefully increase adoption rates, the Pasadena Humane Society shared the duo's heartwarming story in a short, promotional film. "Hopefully our story will encourage others to adopt and love their pets a little more," Chrissy said. "These two are my loves, and they have taught me that love defines all."