Essex: Owners teaching deaf rescue dog new tricks

AN eight-week-old puppy, dumped because she could not hear, has been taken in by a deaf Essex couple who are teaching her sign language.

Black and white springer spaniel Alice was rejected by a breeder in Ireland because she was deaf. But Marie Williams, 41, and her partner Mark Morgan, 43, who are both deaf, instantly fell for Alice when they saw her on The Blue Cross website.

Alice was dirty, sick and anxious when rescued by the charity last month, and staff at its adoption centre in Lewknor, Oxfordshire, worried no one would want to take in a dog that could not hear commands.

But Miss Williams, from West Mersea, was smitten. “We were thinking about getting a dog but when we saw Alice was deaf we just couldn’t believe it,” said the mother of three. “She was so beautiful and the fact that she was deaf just made us fall in love with her even more – we knew that she would fit right into our family.

“When we went to visit her at the centre I had tears in my eye, because she was so cute and we bonded straight away.”

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Miss Williams and Mr Morgan, who have three sons Liam, 16, Lewis, 13, and Owen, five, have already started training Alice using sign language and she has learned to sit down, sit up, come and roll over. She said: “I feel so angry that someone abandoned her because in their eyes she was not ‘perfect’. It goes to show with a little effort it is easy to cope with a deaf puppy.”

Julie Stone, manager of the adoption centre in Lewknor, said: “It was amazing to see how Marie, Mark and their children immediately bonded with Alice.”

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The Blue Cross, which relies entirely on public donations, re-homes thousands of dogs, cats, horses, and small animals every year. Visit

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