CHELSEA by Paul Ogden


The Story of a Signal Dog
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 In this lively memoir, Ogden (Communicative Disorders/California State Univ. at Fresno; co-author, The Silent Garden, 1982) eloquently explains what it's like for a deaf person to function in a hearing world--and how Chelsea, a well-trained ``signal dog,'' adds dimension to his life. When Ogden and his wife, Anne, who is also deaf, lose their first dog, Lox, they lost not just a companion, but a connection to the hearing world. (They had taught Lox, among other things, to indicate when someone was at the door or on the telephone.) So they set about adopting a signal dog from Canine Companions for Independence, a group that matches dogs with deaf and handicapped individuals and puts both humans and canines through a very rigorous training program. The dogs have been previously taught to respond to over 80 signals, and when their new owners arrive, it is they who need the training. Ogden spends half of a two-week training period literally leashed to his new dog, a Belgian sheepdog named Chelsea, so they can bond together and learn to read each other's signals (no wonder human graduates refer to the training as boot camp). Throughout, Ogden conveys what it's like to be deaf--even the little things, such as how a hearing-impaired person worships in church or manages to lip-read someone with a mustache. ``Deafness,'' he contends, is ``not a handicap but a serious inconvenience.'' Candid and appealing--both as a treatise on deafness and signal dogs, and for its human-animal sentiments. (Twenty b&w photographs--not seen.)

Pub Date: Jan. 23rd, 1992
ISBN: 0-316-63375-5
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1991


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