A DEAF puppy is being taught sign language by a deaf couple from West Mersea.
Springer spaniel Alice was dumped by a breeder in Ireland when she was just eight weeks old after they discovered she could not hear.
Oxfordshire animal charity the Blue Cross took in the pup knowing she would need specialist training and care as she cannot hear commands or respond to owner’s shouts.
But Marie Williams and partner Mark Morgan, who are both deaf, knew she would be the perfect pet for them.
Miss Williams, 41, said: “We were thinking about getting a dog but when we saw Alice was deaf, we just couldn’t believe it.
“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 eyes, because she was so cute and we bonded straight away.”
Miss Williams and her partner, 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 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 – she has already learned the signs for several basic commands.”
Julie Stone, manager of the Blue Cross animal adoption centre, said: “Alice is such a loving and responsive dog and she proves with a bit of time and effort, a deaf dog can be trained and become a wonderful pet.
“It was amazing to see how Marie, Mark and their children immediately bonded with Alice and how they knew just how to get her attention. They are a brilliant match and Alice has found the perfect home where I know she will get the love she deserves.”