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


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
  • cvmzx
    cvmzxFriday, January 31, 2020 at 9:11 am
    that is so coo l
    • puppylover4ever
      puppylover4everFriday, January 24, 2020 at 9:43 pm
      So cute!
      • softball_maegan
        softball_maeganThursday, January 9, 2020 at 7:04 am
        so cute everyone would want him right
        • lulu08
          lulu08Tuesday, January 7, 2020 at 10:14 am
          So cute!
          • lulu08
            lulu08Tuesday, January 7, 2020 at 10:09 am
            This dog is adorable! Whoever doesn't love that cute face is heartless!
            • luna123546
              luna123546Monday, January 6, 2020 at 7:20 am
              yah i wonder why :(
              • mooshroomz
                mooshroomzSaturday, January 4, 2020 at 9:41 am
                That dog is so cute I wonder why nobody really wanted him.🐕
                • l_roys090910
                  l_roys090910Monday, December 9, 2019 at 3:38 pm
                  So sad! And cute!
                  • Cyrus crazyWednesday, October 30, 2019 at 3:28 pm
                    I feel bad for this dog because he came into the world not being able to hear anything and yet he was still determined to become a great service dog and he was so determined to make his dream come true and people realized that he deserves a second chance and finally after all the hard work he been through he finally got what he wanted.This article changed the way I think in a good way thank you Meera Dolasia.😭😭😭👍👍👍🐶🐶
                    • hulk223456789
                      hulk223456789Wednesday, February 5, 2020 at 2:22 pm
                      great job cyrus that was amazing i so agree with you great saying i loved it
                    • dr.cookieWednesday, October 30, 2019 at 1:37 pm
                      so nice!!!!!!