Saturday, May 15, 2010

How Henry Keller Came to Be

This share is for anyone who enjoys a true rescue story. It’s about chance, heroism, going above and beyond, and a puppy’s will to live.

One evening, back on December 20, 2005, a man happened upon a near-lifeless puppy along Highway 101 in Monterey County. The pup was alone, scared, sick and covered in his own poo – he was suffering from a prolapsed rectum, which basically means that his rear had come inside out. The man, whose identity is unknown but who must have been sent by God himself, decided to take the pup to the Soledad Fire Department for help.

The kind-hearted firemen in Soledad bundled the smelly puppy in a blanket and drove him to the nearest emergency clinic, nearly an hour away. There the pup would give love in exchange for life. The veterinarian on staff that night was Dr. Kerrin Hoban and she has stated on more than one occasion that this special pup’s “loverboy” personality literally saved his life.

The lucky puppy was a Dalmatian. He was approximately two months old, weighed just six pounds and he was dehydrated. He tested negative for Parvo. Dr. Hoban operated on the little guy and then she operated on him again. It took two tries to repair his prolapsed rectum. She fed him, cared for him and provided him with much-needed love and affection. He was given the name Henry. It is unknown, to date, how he ended up along Highway 101.

With the outstanding care Henry received, he grew into quite a healthy young dog. But there was something else. Henry didn’t seem to be able to hear. Dr. Hoban discovered through the BAER test that Henry was 100% deaf. This certainly leant itself to the possibility that he may have been lost from his litter, but it also could mean he was abandoned. It is unfortunate, but an estimated 11 percent of Dalmatians are born totally deaf with as many as 30 percent experiencing some hearing problems. Fortunately, Deaf Dog Education Action Fund and Spirit of Deaf Dogs are excellent resources for those interested in adopting a deaf Dalmatian - or any deaf animal - and there are always many in need of a good home. Deaf Animals posts deaf cats and dogs desperately in need of adoption several times a week.

Shortly after it was determined Henry was deaf, the name Keller was added to his name and he officially and affectionately became known as Henry Keller. This, of course, is a sort of play-on-words referring to the very famous Helen Keller who was also deaf, as well as highly intelligent and a bit mischievous – also like Henry.

Dr. Hoban got busy teaching Henry Keller hand signals as well as manners. He matured into a seriously dapper but hopelessly silly juvenile Dalmatian and was ready for a good home. Dr. Hoban only decided to adopt Henry out because she also has horses – concerned that he might accidently become the victim of an unfortunate mishap due to his lack of hearing.

So, let’s fast forward to the here and now, no pun intended.

Henry lives a pretty good life with another dog, three cats and two bunnies, in the care of his forever parents. He loves to please and he’ll do just about anything for the “good boy” sign. Being deaf doesn’t bother Henry at all. His other senses are heightened so he sees and smells and feels a bit better than other dogs. He prefers to sleep with his body touching up against his mom or dad. A whole chapter could be written, and probably will, on how Henry’s deafness makes him special.

That’s the story of how Henry Keller came to be. His rescue undoubtedly affected all those he met along the way, and he continues to inspire every day. Rescuing an animal always rescues the rescuer. Just ask anyone who has ever saved a dog’s life.


  1. Great story! I have a deaf boxer, and much like Henry, has warmed her way into the hearts of my family. She likes to cuddle with me at night and prefers to always be napping close to a person or another dog. She responds well to hand signals and follows my other two hearing dogs when I call them. Now that I have her, I can't imagine life without her. I don't look at deafness as a disability for dogs, I view it as a gift. It makes them special. I'd adopt another deaf dog in a heartbeat!

  2. You're my kind of people DogCamMom :) I had no idea how blessed I would be by Henry's companionship - different than all my relationships with my other pets. I look forward to getting to know you - saw you on Twitter too :)

  3. There is a blind dalmation in our socialization class as well as a Boston terrier who cannot hear. Both dogs are such happy troopers, sometimes surpassing the dogs in posession of all their senses. It's so wonderful to see them flourish in the care of people who see them as special rather than limited, like you and your Henry.

  4. We found you via blog hop and are so glad we did. As a family of rescues ourselves, we love to hear the great stories of how a rescue came to live in their forever homes. Thanks to everyone involved!

  5. Woof! Woof! What a wonderful story. Hi There I'm Sugar. Found you at BLOG HOP. Nice to meet you. Looking forward to your visit to my blog and be blog friends. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  6. What a touching story! Glad to hear things are working out for this pup! He is beautiful! Looking forward to updates on your blog! Found you via the Hop!