The first thing that pops out at you are striking bright blue eyes framed in a snow white face with a pink button nose.
That fluffy white coat stops right behind her shoulders where it changes to a stark blue merle. I nicknamed her “Miss Fancy Pants.” She looks like she’s wearing blue merle britches on her square little backside with a short nubby little tail.
Why on earth would someone want to dispose of a puppy that’s so darned cute that at first glance, people mistake her for a stuffed toy I am carrying in my arms? Mazie has an unseen flaw. She is totally deaf. Mazie appears as normal, happy and playful as any other puppy until you watch other dogs bark right in her ear she’s oblivious, or you bang a metal spoon on a metal pot right above her head she doesn’t stir one bit from her nap.
I am certain that the breeder who brought Mazie into the world knew that breeding two blue merle Aussies ran the high risk of producing deaf and or blind puppies, but it can also create some fantastic looking blue merle puppies that will bring a higher price. If an Aussie baby is born without color around its eyes or ears, it is most likely deaf and/or blind. Larger scale breeders will often destroy these puppies soon after they are born. Mazie’s breeder chose to let her live to five weeks old before confirming that she was deaf and deciding to get rid of her.
Mazie is a tragic symbol to me of one of our society’s mottos: “If it’s flawed or broken, throw it away!” If something is imperfect according to public opinion, or our own personal definition, then the object, whether it be living or inanimate, is deemed to have no value. Therefore, we feel justified in discarding or destroying it. Even our nation’s own children are sacrificed on this altar, if there is the possibility that they won’t be born “perfect,” according to our definition. The tragic loss we suffer is far greater than just the loss of those lives. Lost are opportunities to learn, stretch, or deepen our compassion as human beings and experience the deep soul satisfaction of sacrificial love.
Even at six weeks of age, all Mazie’s other senses are heightened. Those pretty blue eyes and that pink button nose don’t miss a thing! This week as I cared for Mazie, I’ve seen things through her eyes that I would have totally missed before. At first I was afraid training would be very hard. How could I get across to her what I wanted her to do without using my voice? Then I reminded myself that body language is a major part of our communication with each other — and with our pets. Dogs “read” us extremely well. Dogs even learn sign language. I read about a deaf dog that became an agility champion. The dog’s deafness made him so completely focused on his beloved owner’s physical cues and signals that he was not at all distracted on the course, as a dog who could hear might be. His disability was transformed into an asset.
Page 2 of 2 - I am excited about where the journey with Mazie may take me (or her new owner), all because of her “flaw!” I have always wanted to learn sign language and now I have some extra motivation.
We wondered when we first rescued Mazie, if she would bark or make any noise since she couldn’t hear herself. We found out! The first time we left her alone in a room we heard a heart-stopping puppy scream! It was astounding that loud, alarming, awful noise came out of that little darling! Mazie’s only fear right now is being alone. Mazie wears a bell that serves as our puppy GPS and of course, she can’t go outdoors without vigilant supervision. She might look way too much like a tasty little rabbit dinner to the hawks and owls that live in our trees.
Mazie means “pearl.” I thought that extremely fitting. She is a precious “pearl” worth a great price. She’ll be completely devoted to the blessed person who becomes her lifelong companion. Why would we want to throw that away? I have absolutely no idea!
Leanne Williams is president of Faithful Friends Animal Advocates.