Photo by Melbourne Portrait Studio
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Look Beyond My Disability: Meet Marilyn

As Ann (Marilyn’s mum) said, ‘Her megawatt smile should have been enough to get her adopted in a flash!’ – but she was waiting for 2½ years at Hear No Evil Deaf Dog Rescue before finding her forever home with Ann and Richard.

Marilyn is deaf and blind because of her double merle gene. Other than that, she’s like any other dog – playful, curious, independent and happy to be part of the action! – as many dogs in the dog park and people who’ve known her will testify.

I was fortunate to meet and spend one afternoon with Marilyn. Certainly, as she moves around her home with such calmness, cautious yet confident steps, it’s easy to forget her disabilities. She navigates her surroundings like a pro through smell and touch. She knows where the steps are by feeling the tactile strip on her paw. She associates certain smells with certain rooms, and she definitely knows where the kitchen or the food is. Two taps on the back means sit, two taps on the chest means drop, and rubs on both cheeks means free.

Even though Ann and Richard have rescued Marilyn, the opposite is also true. She has helped fill the two massive Rottweiler-shaped holes in both Ann and Richard’s heart with plenty of love and joy. Having Marilyn also ignites Ann’s creative side by building a dog-friendly sensory garden, investigating alternative training methods, and inspiring her to learn Auslan.

Marilyn is the glue of her community, generously and unconsciously spreading joy to everyone she meets. She teaches us resilience and that no one, either on four or two legs, should be defined by their disabilities. ‘Are we limited because of what we don’t have?’ or ‘Can we be limitless because of what we have?’ – Marilyn shows us having disabilities doesn’t mean that these dogs and their owners can’t still have a happy and full life.

There’s plenty in store for this fearless girl – plenty of love to give, memories to create, limitless opportunities and achievements to be made, including being a therapy dog. I’m sure you’ll be just that Marilyn!


Marilyn & Ann were finalists in the 2019 Jetpets Companion Animal Rescue Awards in the category of Advocate® People’s Rescue Story for Australians who have adopted or fostered a pet. More finalists and winners, go to rescueawards.com.au

Thank you Marilyn, Ann and Richard for welcoming me into your home and letting me be a little part of your amazing journey. I hope there will be more happy-ending stories like yours…

Thank you Hear No Evil Deaf Dog Rescue for working tirelessly to find forever homes for these dogs. Master Bowie is donating $50 to the rescue.

Portraits courtesy of Judith van Daalen from Melbourne Portrait Studio. What an amazing shot!


Watch Marilyn in action!

More Deaf and Blind Dog Training resources, go here. More FAQ about double merles, go here.


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