Norman Coffill

How did your owner decide they wanted a small friend and that you would be the right small friend for them?
My mum, Michelle, has been ‘animal mad’ for her entire life and has spent the last 15, or so, years involved in rescue. She runs “Hear No Evil – Australian Deaf Dog Rescue” which specialises in deaf and other special needs dogs. Mum knows that deaf or blind dogs are just dogs who require a different form of communication, but can still live a normal life. She’s got, and had, many permanent and foster small friends – many of whom (like me!) aren’t so small! I like to think I’m a lap dog, but being a Great Dane x Mastiff, apparently there aren’t many laps that are big enough for me! As soon as my mum saw my pound photo, she knew I was meant to be part of her rescue, and ultimately, her family.

Where did your owner find you?
My mum found me on a pound website after I was picked up as a stray 8 week old puppy in Rockhampton, QLD. I ended up in the pound and because I was unvaccinated, I also ended up with parvovirus. Luckily for me, my mum found out about me the day I was due to be put to sleep and I was saved by her. I was successfully treated for parvovirus and then I made the big trip down to Canberra to join my mum and become part of her permanent family. I arrived in my home just before Christmas 2016 and I’ve been having a ball ever since!

How did your owner choose your name?

My mum’s rescue partner actually chose my name. Mum hates naming anyone and almost all my permanent and foster siblings (canine and feline) have been named by someone else!

What do you enjoy doing?
My favourite things in the world are eating, sleeping and snuggling. Mum says I’m a champion sleeper and on a good day I manage to squeeze in around 15 hours of sleep. When I’m not sleeping I’m pestering mum for breakfast, dinner or treats and/or snuggles. I like her to know I’m around, so my favourite spot to stand is right between her legs (this was a lot easier when I was smaller. Now I’m fully grown and because Mum isn’t very tall, it’s a bit of a squeeze). I also love going for walks, meeting new dogs and showing off at my training classes.

Do you have a favourite treat, spot or toy? 
My favourite treat in the whole entire world is roast chicken. I’ll do ANYTHING for roast chicken! And of course, my favourite spot in the world is standing between Mum’s legs – when I’m standing there, I’m guaranteed to get pats! I also love playing tug of war with my canine siblings. Even though I’m the biggest dog in my home, I don’t always win. My teensy little English Staffordshire Bull Terrier sister is much stronger than I am!

What do you think makes you so special to your owner? 
Mum says that what makes me so special is that despite my sensory deficits, each and every day I do a perfect job of showing the world that I’m a happy, clever and super-friendly dog. I can’t see and I can’t hear, so I use my senses of smell, touch and taste to navigate my world. Like my deaf sister and my deaf and visually impaired Bull Arab x Catahoula brother, I’m an ambassador dog for Hear No Evil – Australian Deaf Dog Rescue and I help to teach people all about deaf, deaf/visually impaired and deaf/blind dogs.

Are there any funny or interesting stories about you that you can share with us?
Whenever anyone meets me and finds out that I’m deaf and blind (you can’t tell just by looking at me!), people always say how sad that is and then assume that I mustn’t be very smart and that life with me must be really hard. It only takes people a few minutes to realise that I’m a very happy boy and that I’m super-clever. My mum has trained me using touch commands – I have touch commands for sit, drop, stay, come, no, good boy, leave it, down, stand, step up and turn around. I navigate my home with ease – I figured out the dog door on the day I arrived and I happily do giant-dog zoomies when I’m excited, rarely bumping into anything. I’m also an expert at scent-mapping new areas – give me a few minutes to check out a new place and I’ll be able to find my way around perfectly. My nose works brilliantly which also means that even from a long distance, I can smell my favourite people and doggy friends and I get super-excited when I sniff them out.