Walker Cousineau: Michigan teen with hearing impairment adopts deaf dog in heartwarming gesture
BENTLEY, MICHIGAN: A teen with hearing loss has adopted a deaf dog from a shelter. Walker Cousineau and his family brought home Dave, a 6-year-old pit bull mix, a month ago. The family had come across a picture of Dave on Facebook in July.
According to Fox News Digital, the 14-year-old has been "inseparable" from the dog, his mom Mindy Cousineau said. The mom told the outlet, "Walker wanted Dave because he knows that animals in the shelter [with] special needs are typically overlooked."
Walker was not born with hearing loss, the mother said. When he was 10, doctors found that he had a kidney disorder called Alport syndrome, which affected his hearing. Mindy said, "He does not use a lot of sign language. He lip-reads and wears bilateral hearing aids, so they're helping."
"He could be his buddy and know what he was going through — and understand. I think Walker needed somebody, too," she added. "It worked out perfectly."
The animal shelter of the Humane Society of Midland County in Midland, Michigan, had posted the picture of Dave. Since he was a deaf dog, no one showed interest in adopting him, as per the shelter.
Speaking to Fox News Digital, the shelter's director Beth Wellman said that Dave had many "strikes" against him in the shelter, including with dogs his age and breed. However, Dave was a favorite among the shelter volunteers, Beth revealed, adding that he was "comical when out for walks, affectionate [and] gentle."
"When the Cousineau family came in specifically to meet him, everyone at the shelter was very hopeful that finally this was his turn," she said. "It ended up being a perfect match and we are so thrilled for the family and Dave."
Mindy said about her son, "Walker is very sweet and kindhearted, so for other people to notice him for being so kind — it's very strange to us because that's just who he is." She added, "When someone needs help, he's the first person to help."
According to the outlet, Walker and Dave have become friends and the newest addition to the family has adjusted well. Apart from the mother and son, the family includes dad Jim, sister Lauren, 22, brother Chase, 12 — and two more rescue dogs.
One is an Australian cattle dog mastiff mix named Doug, while the other, named Darry, is an American bully. Mindy said that Walker’s message to everyone who wants a pet is to consider adopting animals instead of buying them from pet stores.