Hear/t

I only went for a look
Out of curiosity
And because I love dogs
And wanted to find out
If I could be a volunteer
– not a dog walker
But a dog carer, or dog calmer
– one who gets to sit
With the dogs in the shelter
And keep them company
To help pass the time
In between visits from the public

You were in a secluded part
Of the sanctuary
– an area called “Bricks”
There weren’t many others there
When I saw you first
You were lying on your cushion
And then you saw me
And you leapt onto your feet
And came up to the gate
“Swan”, your card read
“Female Staffy X”
“Date of birth: 26th June 2011”
And below that, on the chart
Under Other Observations:
“Deaf”

You had a Roman nose
And looked more like a Bull Terrier
Than an English Staffordshire
Perhaps that’s part of your mix
A beautiful white coat
With black ticking
On your back and around your ears
Your eyes were strangely dark
With parts missing pigmentation
– perhaps a sign of your disability
You came up to the gate
I felt you needed a hug or two
But I could only pat you
Through the wire

I sat there with you
For over 20 minutes
You, of all the other deserving dogs
Because you loved being patted
And tickled under your chin
And I told you what a good girl
You are, over and over
Even though I knew
That you couldn’t hear me
And when I took my camera out
To take your photo
You got really excited
And did the thing I didn’t think
You’d do – you barked!

You must have thought
We were going for a walk
Or that I had a treat for you
You barked excitedly
And jumped up and down
You wanted to get out of there
And go away with me
I wish I could take you
I wish you were mine
I walked round the corner
So you wouldn’t see me crying
And when I came back
I saw how you “hear” things
You do it by looking at shoes
As people approach

You may be deaf
But you hear with your eyes
And with your heart
And that is the lesson I took away
Today from that dog shelter
I hope, I wish I get to volunteer
So I can spend more time with you
Beautiful Swan

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