Sweet Oliver is my approximately 5-year-old dalmation mix. I discovered him at 6 months of age after he and his sister had been dumped off a country road. He and Lucy (his sister) were filthy, freezing cold, wet and hungry. Ollie, because of his pink ears and eye rims, was severely sunburned as well.
I took them both home (Lucy eventually went to live with another family) and because they were so filthy, I left them on the deck until I could go inside to get some towels. By the time I came back out, Oliver had crawled into a big flower pot and gone to sleep. That was enough for me... right then and there I decided he was staying with me.
It didn't take long to figure out Ollie was deaf. He would sleep through loud noises, and I learned that he wouldn't respond when I called him. Adopting a deaf dog has definitely been a learning experience, but it has been a rewarding one as well. He has learned all of his commands through hand signals, and he relies on the other dogs in the house for cues.
Oliver is a beautiful dog, and out of all my dogs, is the supreme snuggler. Wherever we go, we always get compliments and questions because he is so unique. And the uniqueness isn't only on the outside. I don't know whether it's because he can't hear, but Oliver is... different. He's quirky, a little odd and just basically off-beat. My neighbor has affectionately dubbed him "Oliver Twisted." But no matter just how different he may be, he is incredibly important to me and I can't imagine not having him in my life.
In fact, I'm so proud of him that I submitted his photo and story to The State newspaper last year in their "Best in Show" contest... and he won! He was featured on the front page several days and you can see the full story above. There's even a video where you can watch me make a fool of myself... but at least Ollie looks cute!