• Dog deemed ‘unadoptable' to become first-ever deaf K-9 in Washington

    By: Maggie Wilson


    SEATTLE - When Ghost was a puppy, around 3 months old, he was found homeless in Florida.

    He is deaf, with white fur and brown eyes. 

    Ghost was deemed “unadoptable” because of an abundance of energy and occasional indifference to people. His deafness would also have required owners willing to learn new ways of communicating.

    In Florida, young Ghost was scheduled to be euthanized. Swamp Haven Humane in Florida wanted to give Ghost another chance at a forever home. 

    Ghost, from Washington Department of Corrections

    So they reached out to several animal shelters around the country, including Olympic Peninsula Humane Society in Port Angeles, which agreed to take him in.

    Olympic Peninsula Humane knows by now to reach out to Barb Davenport when they have a high-energy puppy. When no one showed interest in adopting Ghost, they called Barb. 

    Barb started handling dogs when she was a little girl, only 10 years old.

    She participated in American Kennel Club conformation and junior showmanship as well as the 4-H dog programs -- then joined the U.S. Army in 1975.

    Barb Davenport with Ghost. From Washington State Department of Corrections

    She enlisted in the military specifically to become a K-9 handler, officials with the Washington State Department of Corrections said. 

    In 1979, she became one.

    Barb said she feels the best part of her job is taking dogs who might not be able to find forever homes, and working to help them become important members of their communities.

    When she met Ghost for the first time, “he was very focused and determined to locate his ball when thrown or hidden,” Barb said. She felt he could be a good K-9.

    At this point, Barb has trained over 450 rescued dogs into narcotics dogs. All of the Washington state DOC’s K-9s are originally from shelters. 

    Now 2 and a half years old, Ghost lives with his new handler, Joe Henderson. Ghost is in training as a narcotics detection dog for the Washington DOC. 

    He’ll be with Henderson for the rest of his "forever," helping to serve the community as the first deaf dog in Washington state's K-9 history. 




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