488 days ago, Raanan (RonRon) was rescued from St. Clair County Animal Control. In the year and four months that followed, he was shuffled around foster homes and stayed some time at the emergency shelter. His condition made it difficult to place him in a foster home. He’s hard of hearing (possibly fully deaf), which makes interacting with other dogs difficult and confusing. He gets so excited when he sees other dogs, but he’s not adept at interpreting their body language or play signals.

But a few weeks ago, Raanan welcomed a guardian angel into his life. Kelsey Bolin met him during his stay at the shelter, and he resonated with her. She recalls, “Every time I went to the shelter he just caught my eye. He seemed isolated and a little sad–usually when you walk through the shelter, all the dogs come up to the front of their kennels to greet you and see what’s going on. RonRon, though, usually stayed at the back of his kennel. He also didn’t communicate through barking, etc., like the other dogs–he just didn’t seem to have a lot of joy or enthusiasm for life, and it tugged at my heartstrings. Plus, I have a weakness for pittie grins and he has one of the best in the business!”

Kelsey decided to give Raanan a chance, and was eager to work on training with him, including sign language. Raanan knew some signs and had been trained on an ecollar, but she really wanted to push him to learn more signs, get muzzle trained, and control his jumping/nipping during play. Having no experience working with a deaf dog, Kelsey did a lot of research on training and jumped right in! “In the 2 weeks I’ve had him, we’ve reinforced and/or learned the signs for: good boy, bad/no, sit, stay, come (hand signal), come (collar vibrate), and shake. I’ve also taught him to ring a bell when he needs to go out, and we’re only a few days away from completing muzzle training.”

Raanan is incredibly smart, and Kelsey is incredibly dedicated. The duo does two training sessions per day together, for 10 minutes each. And Raanan LOVES his training sessions with Kelsey! “He hops around the room excitedly whenever he sees me bring out the training treats, and it’s not because he’s especially food-motivated. I think he likes the feeling of communicating with me through training.”

But it’s not all work and training–the duo also has playtime and snuggles! In fact, Kelsey says snuggles are one of his favorite things! “He pounces on my pillow to cuddle up with me every night. When I’m on the couch, he’ll crawl into my lap and want to be held like a big baby. He adores getting belly rubs and scratches under his chin. He’s literally the perfect house dog–he doesn’t chew, bark, or have accidents, he just plays with his toys and wants snuggles! I’m glad that future potential adopters will be able to see that.”

Kelsey and Raanan are working hard together, and she only wants to see him succeed. Raanan is looking for his forever home, one with the same dedication, patience and persistence to help him learn and grow. Do you think you’re his perfect home? Visit www.gatewaypets.com/adopt to learn more about Raanan. And visit www.gatewaypets.com/foster to learn more about fostering and making a difference in the life of a rescued animal just like him!