Ashley H. decided to take an American Sign Language class for personal growth even though she has her hearing. She enjoyed it so much that she kept taking classes. Through the Deaf community, she met her partner, Mackenzie G., who was born deaf and now works with deaf children.
The pair have three dogs, including Jax, an Australian shepherd who is deaf. Jax was the product of irresponsible breeding, Ashley says, leading to an underlying genetic cause for his deafness.
Deaf dogs often come to a bad end, so the pair deliberately sought out a deaf puppy. His deafness doesn’t keep Jax from loving everyone he meets. He is training to become a certified therapy dog.
Ashley works for the American Endowment Foundation in Hudson, Ohio. Each year, the foundation offers employees the opportunity to submit grant applications for worthy nonprofits. Ashley found DBL while researching organizations that support the deaf.
“I wanted to find a good program with a passion for their work,” she says. “When I called Dogs for Better Lives, I could tell they cared, grant or no grant.”
Ashley completed the extensive application on behalf of DBL. Last spring, the American Endowment Foundation awarded DBL $10,000.
“It means a lot to me since I personally would never be able to give that amount of money,” Ashley says. By living with a deaf partner, Ashley is aware of the challenges and safety risks for the deaf. By going through training with Jax, she’s also aware of how intense training a service dog can be. These experiences have given her respect and gratitude for the work of DBL.
“The Dogs for Better Lives program is just fantastic; the service they provide is so incredible,” she says.
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