Some instincts are far too strong to ignore.
Fourteen-year-old Walker Cousineau of Bentley, Michigan started losing his hearing when he was about 10. Since then, he’s constantly learning to navigate the world around him with hearing impairment in both ears, and he has struggled to feel like he fits in. He was browsing the internet one day when, suddenly, he saw a dog that he knew instantly was meant to be his new best friend.
A 6-year-old white pitbull mix called “Puppy” was brought into the Humane Society of Midland County in Midland, Michigan because his owners couldn’t care for his special needs. The dog is deaf, and Walker instantly recognized him as the kindred spirit he didn’t realize he’d been waiting for.
“There’s a deaf dog there,” Walker told his mother, Mindy Cousineau. “I have to go get him.”
It turns out the dog had been at the shelter for weeks, and not a single person had put in an application to adopt him. Even though the family already has two rescue dogs living in their home, Mindy knew her son needed this particular dog.
The next weekend, the shelter was hosting the Bissell Pet Foundation’s Empty the Shelters adoption event. The family piled into the car and drove about 35 miles to the shelter. When they walked in, they asked for the deaf dog, and shelter workers were over the moon that someone had finally inquired about Puppy!
“When the Cousineau family came in specifically to meet him, everyone at the shelter was very hopeful that finally this was his turn,” shelter director Beth Wellman said.
Before the family even left the parking lot, Walker had given the dog his new name: Dave.
“It ended up being a perfect match and we are so thrilled for the family and Dave,” said Beth.
In the few weeks he’d lived with them, the dog had become a favorite among staff members. He’s a sweet, gentle dog who wouldn’t hurt a fly. That temperment was on full display when Dave got home and met the family’s other two dogs. They hit it off right away, and Mindy was amazed at how Dave acted like he’d always lived with them.
Most importantly, Walker’s first instinct was spot-on. He and Dave became the best of friends! Dave now sleeps in Walker’s bed, and he sticks right by the teen’s side whenever he’s not in school. Mindy says her son’s confidence has increased so much that he has gotten more social at school, even joining the football team.
Once Dave’s adoption story was shared online, Walker got a lot of attention at school. He took it all in stride, hoping the story will raise awareness to adopt, not shop, for family pets.
“Walker wanted Dave because he knows that animals in the shelter [with] special needs are typically overlooked,” Mindy said.
The benefits of this adoption weren’t just one-sided.
“I think Walker needed somebody, too,” Mindy added. “It worked out perfectly.”
There’s a lid for every pot, and there really is the perfect family for every shelter dog! We’re so thankful that Walker spotted his soul-dog and that his family supported the adoption. Let’s all take Walker’s advice and head to the local animal shelter next time we need a new four-legged friend.
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