Deaf Dogs Can Jump — Maddi’s Story by Ann Brown
Maddi, a Red Australian Cattle Dog, was born profoundly deaf on 26 February 2006. Despite her handicap, she loved everyone and everything… like looking after an orphaned lamb and befriending the pony living next door. Every day, she would lean over the fence to give “Tich” her morning kiss.
I first took Maddi to Obedience training in 2008, when she was two years old. Over the next two and a half years she advanced to the U.D. level (Utility Dog: Utility Obedience) having gained all of her other titles; however, she displayed no interest in the Utility Dog work at all!
Maddi would just look at articles, move them around, pick them up and toss them in the air. The Box? ‘What box’ she seemed to say, and would totally ignore it running around and over a jump. Yes, she was brilliant at training, but aren’t they all?
Late in 2011, someone suggested she try Agility. This she loved and in March 2012, after only 6 weeks training at the Club, Maddi had her first Agility/Jumping trial. I was completely surprised when she came first and qualified in both the Jumping and Agility Novice Classes.
In seven months Maddi gained seven titles. After the summer break, she went on again to get A.D.O. (Agility Dog Open) and into the Masters classes for all other games, agility and jumping. Due to my knee replacement surgery in 2013, we had to slow down considerably. Nevertheless, as soon as I was healed, Maddi was ready and raring to go again.
Tragically, Maddi passed away on 17th September 2015, after a battle with bone cancer. Nine months prior to her passing, Maddi had two thirds of her lower jaw removed. She coped with the missing jaw and eventually started playing again with her toys and my other dogs. She even came 3rd in an Agility and 2nd at an Obedience Trial in the Open class.
It was a truly wonderful experience working with Maddi. With her deafness, I had to work out different hand signals and body language, although it all seemed to work for her. She was an exceptional dog and a huge inspiration to me.
I was and still am very, very proud of her.