Piglet, the deaf blind pink puppy was rescued from a hoarding situation in Georgia along with his mother and 3 litter mates. He is a Dachshund Chihuahua mix, and the product of two dapple colored parents. Dapple to dapple breeding results in a 25% chance of each puppy being “double dapple.” This double dapple color pattern is linked to congenital ear and eye defects that may result in partially or completely deaf/blind puppies. Piglet is deaf and blind. After a lot of love and attention, Piglet is now a happy, healthy dog who raises awareness and fundraises around the country. Here, his mom shares a recent adventure.
Last weekend, my husband and I packed up three of our small dogs and headed out to Columbus, Ohio. Piglet, the deaf blind pink puppy was registered as a participant in the very first Special K9 Games.
With the theme, Be Brave, the Special K9 Games were created to encourage people with special needs dogs to become active with them, step out of their comfort zones, build trust, and enjoy being with their dogs. The special dogs who attended with their devoted moms and dads were there to learn new skills, improve their current skills, and then compete. The dogs came with varying abilities and training, but embraced the spirit of joining in and moving past their individual challenges. Events included agility, nose work, lure coursing, frisbee, and tricks.
Our little Piglet was the smallest dog attending. He was one of only a few deaf/blind dogs. I decided to bring him to this first Special K9 Games because I wanted to meet others who were involved in taking care of and advocating for special needs dogs. I wanted to broaden Piglet’s world, give him new experiences, and see just what he was capable of.
Piglet cautiously tried the agility equipment on Saturday during the workshop. With each run through, he became more comfortable with each obstacle. On Sunday morning, we arrived to “watch” (he’s blind) the competition. It seemed a far reach for Piglet to actually complete the agility course in a reasonable amount of time. The organizers encouraged us to sign on to have him compete. It didn’t take much convincing. Piglet’s name and credentials were added to the roster.
No, he will not become the next Crufts agility champion. But the purpose of these games is much different. This competition is about overcoming challenges, being differently- abled, and engaging in a happy meaningful life in spite of being born with profound disabilities.
Piglet eagerly and enthusiastically completed his first special games agility competition run. He did not do the tunnel because I wasn’t willing to crawl into the tunnel to guide him through. But he jumped over jumps, went through a short tunnel, sat on the platform table for the required 5 seconds, walked over the dog walk, jumped through the tire, and scaled the A-frame before he finished his run with an adorable happy prance and a final sit. He won a 2nd place ribbon in the deaf/blind agility division and he left lots of smiles in his path.
Reflecting back on our inspiring and motivating experience at the games, relative to current world events, having my 5 ½ pound dog participate in a dog agility event seems rather trivial. But in our own little world, which we still do live in, witnessing our profoundly disabled Tiny Man Piglet participate and enjoy an activity meant for the finest of athletic dogs was quite a heartwarming thrill. We met over 40 dogs and 100 people at the first Special K9 Games, all there with their deaf, blind, deaf/blind, and mobility impaired dogs, for similar reasons. The fact is that at every level, dogs enjoy learning, participating, and bonding with their people. Special needs dogs are no different.
Thank you to the organizers of the Special K9 Games. We are looking forward to the second annual games which will take place on October 5-6, 2019.