James Ihaka

James Ihaka is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Deaf pet finds friends and fun in new home

Shane and Kirsty Wooding from Auckland, with Torsha the deaf dog from the SPCA. Photo / Christine Cornege
Shane and Kirsty Wooding from Auckland, with Torsha the deaf dog from the SPCA. Photo / Christine Cornege

A deaf dog no one wanted has found a loving home and an owner who wants to teach her how to get beer from the fridge and take her for rides on his Harley-Davidson motorbike.

Torsha the terrier-cross, who was given up for adoption after her previous owners split, was having a hard time finding a new home when the Waikato SPCA made an appeal for someone to look after her.

Following a story in the Herald and dozens of calls and several visits by prospective owners, Torsha has a new home.

The 3-year-old dog yesterday took up residence at a Massey home on a spacious section.

Her housemates are a 12-year-old blind and deaf rottweiler, a 5-year-old huntaway and her new owners, Shane and Kirsty Wooding.

"I saw the article in the paper and then I just went home had a talk about it with Kirsty and we thought 'yeah'," said Mr Wooding, a petty officer in the Navy.

Mr Wooding said their rottweiler, Hexa, also had diabetes and probably did not have long to live so they wanted a mate for their huntaway Sasha, who is also adopted.

Mrs Wooding, a human resources manager, said living with Hexa had probably helped them in preparing for Torsha.

They are looking at using a collar that can give Torsha a small buzz to alert her to their commands.

"It's just a matter of being patient. We will also work with hand signals and we will train her with treats - they learn really quickly," she said.

Caroline Walmsley of the Waikato SPCA said nearly 40 prospective owners came to look at Torsha but the Woodings best suited the dog.

"Torsha had a play with them and their two dogs and was pretty much ready to jump in the car and head off with them," she said.

"It was clear they liked each other plus they have a lot of time for her and they will look after her."

Torsha, who passed the SPCA's behavioural test with flying colours and is vaccinated, speyed, registered and micro-chipped, has also mastered some sign commands including sit, lie down and roll over.

Mr Wooding said all he had to do now was teach his new dog some tricks.

"One of them will definitely be getting beer from the fridge, or maybe she could learn how to ride on the back of my Harley," he said.

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