"Unadoptable" Rescue Dog Makes History As The First Deaf Member Of Washington's K-9 Unit


CCSS NCSS-9 352 Words 3-Minute Listen
Ghost, the first deaf K-9 dog (Photo Credit: Washington State Department of Corrections)

Ghost, a pit bull mix with honey brown eyes and gorgeous white fur, is making headlines for becoming the first deaf dog to join the K-9 team in Washington state’s and, possibly, even the country’s history. What makes the achievement even more remarkable is that, just a few years ago, the narcotics detection dog, was deemed “unadoptable” and scheduled to be euthanized.

The canine’s incredible journey began in September 2015, when the then three-month-old stray puppy was brought to the Swamp Haven Rescue Center in St. Augustine, Florida. Thanks to his high energy, occasional indifference to humans, and deafness, which would require adopters to learn a different way to communicate, animal control officials placed him on the “unadoptable” list. This meant the puppy would soon have to be put down. However, Swamp Haven volunteers were not ready to give up on Ghost and reached out to animal shelters across the country for help. To their delight and relief, the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society in Port Angeles, Washington agreed to take in the puppy, giving Ghost a new lease on life.

K-9 trainer Barb Davenport and Ghost (Photo Credit: Washington State Department of Corrections)

After the puppy missed out on several adoption opportunities, the shelter reached out to Barb Davenport, a K-9 program manager for Washington State Department of Corrections, who is well-known for selecting canine recruits from animal shelters around the country. The expert, who has trained over 450 rescue dogs to search for drugs since the 1980s, thought Ghost was the perfect candidate for the job. Davenport said, "He was very focused and determined to locate his ball when thrown or hidden. This makes for a more trainable dog.” And while his high energy may have been a deterrent for a home life, it was an important asset for his new career.

Following a multi-year training stint, Ghost began his job, which entails sniffing for drugs in state prisons and other facilities, in January 2018. Even more heartening is that the once “unadoptable” dog now has a stable and happy home with handler Joe Henderson, who, like Ghost, works for the Washington Department of Social and Health Services.

Resources: sacbee.com,kiro7.com

Get the Workbook for this article!

Workbook contains: Article, Reading Comprehension, Critical Thinking Questions, Vocabulary in Context (+ answers), Multiple Choice Quiz (+ answers), Parts of Speech Quiz (+ answers), Vocabulary Game (+ answers)
Cite Article
  • trinitrotoluine
    trinitrotoluineFriday, December 18, 2020 at 9:30 am
    congrats doggy !!!
    • k-quine
      k-quineWednesday, December 16, 2020 at 12:22 pm
      I wish I was rich enough to by oll the dogs in shelter on the "put down list" and as well as all the desperate ones.
      • k-quine
        k-quineWednesday, December 16, 2020 at 12:20 pm
        I don't like that dogs that have been in a shelter for to long they get put down.
        • cheesypizza123
          cheesypizza123Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at 1:28 pm
          This is like the good news of the day for puppy lovers
          • home_girl242
            home_girl242Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 1:40 pm
            OMG! I have a pitbull to he was going to be put dowen to : (
            • scrappy_5
              scrappy_5Wednesday, August 12, 2020 at 8:52 am
              So cute😍 I have 3 dogs and gost looks almost like one of my dogs and she happens to be deaf too
              • gvmdlz
                gvmdlzMonday, July 6, 2020 at 10:07 am
                Dogs are so cute that I whant to snuggle with them!!🐕
                • animereina2020
                  animereina2020Friday, May 15, 2020 at 8:32 am
                  I am super glad that Ghost now has someone to live with, and isn't unadoptable anymore😊 At least he doesn't have to worry about certain noises, like the vacuum, birds, and stuff like that. My dogs HATE the vacuum! They keep on running into my room, thinking that I will "protect" them lol.
                  • pinkgirl_wow
                    pinkgirl_wowMonday, April 27, 2020 at 9:40 am
                    wow.....so inspiring
                    • bookfan2008
                      bookfan2008Monday, April 20, 2020 at 4:57 pm
                      Awww so cute. I LOVE dogs!!!!!!!!! This dog is so cute!!! Its smiling in the last picture:)