Hearing loss brings together autistic teen and deaf dog: “I need him. He’s my dog’

A dog is a man’s best friend. But very few of you must have heard about an unbreakable bond between a deaf dog and a teenager with similar physical disabilities? Such a bond was shared by Walker Cousineau and his deaf dog, Dave.

Walker saw Dave’s photo on a social media platform and immediately told his mother that he would like to have the dog as his best friend. Walker was 14 years old and suffered from hearing loss. On the other hand, Dave, a 6-year-old white Pitbull, was also deaf.

Upon Walker’s request, his parents, Mindy and Jim Cousineau took their son and drove 35 miles. They traveled from their home in Bentley to Mich. Finally, they reached the Bissell Pet Foundation’s Empty the Shelters to adopt Dave. When the people at the shelter brought Dave to the Cousineau family, Walker bonded immediately with the Pitbull.

According to Mindy, it was sheer luck that Walker saw Dave’s photo on social media, posted two days before Walker saw it. So when Dave plopped into Walker’s lap, Mindy knew there was no going back from hereon.

Walker was a ninth grader and suffered from bilateral hearing loss and high-functioning autism. This meant that he could hear high-pitched sounds but needed a hearing aid to listen to the low-pitched sounds. His hearing loss started when Walker was 10 years old and suffered from influenza A.

The reason behind Dave and Walker’s unbreakable bond was the similar physical problem that they shared. This made them understand each other very well. According to Casey Nicholson of the Humane Society of Midland County, Dave needed extra love. He spent his earlier days in a home where he was left outside to go away and neglected.

Dave had a gentle demeanor, which made the Pitbull a favorite for the shelter staff. However, he was put up for adoption because of his hearing disability. Dave was at the shelter for nearly a month before the Cousineau family adopted him. After adoption, Dave began behaving as if he had lived with the Cousineau family for his entire life.