New Jersey, USA
Sandi served as our Treasurer for her term in office.
I own a metaphysical bookstore, having opened it in 1991. SoulJourney is northern NJ's oldest, continually-operating metaphysical store, and it's been quite a journey.
One of the many opportunities I've experienced through the store is exposure to the deaf dog world. In 1998 I had a customer come in who was fostering Orion, a male deaf Dalmatian (so named for the dot pattern on his head that mimics the constellation) and knew we'd be a perfect fit. I went to meet him and it was love at first kiss! He was still in puppy kindergarten so I had to wait to bring him home, but that afforded me the time to join the deafdogs list and learn a little bit about what I was getting myself into. Prior to hearing about Orion, it never occurred to me that dogs could be deaf! I realized very quickly that life with a deaf dog wasn't all that different from life with a hearing one except that I had to get his attention before I could speak to him with my hands (I still verbally speak to my kids, they just can't hear me in the conventional sense). Since he was always watching me anyway, it wasn't difficult.
About 6-8 months later I received a call from Orion's rescuer and about a 6-month-old female deaf Dalmatian who needed a furever home. I wasn't planning on adding a second dog to the family since Orion came to the store with me every day, and I wasn't sure how two dogs would work. I also had no experience with a multiple-dog household and no fenced yard at that point (I'd lived with dogs all my life, just never more than one at any given moment). But we met Nina and ended up bringing her home that night. Orion still looks at me with that "Mom, why is she still here look?" but they do love each other as much as I love them. They have taught me so much over the years for which I am eternally grateful.
Along the way I got certified in two different forms of Reiki as well as Animal Reiki, and I also started working toward my PhD in Natural Healing. I plan on doing my dissertation in some sort of dog-related work, but I'm still formulating a thesis. I have fed a modified-BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) diet for many years now and attribute it with Orion and Nina's basic joyous outlook on life as well as their excellent health, even at the advanced ages of 12 and 11. Orion appeared in an early advertisement for the deafdog organization, and we have attended many regional picnics, as well as coordinating several in NJ. We even traveled to FL with 2 human friends and 4 furred friends (that's 3 humans and 6 dogs, 5 of whom were deaf, all in one van!) for a picnic, and had a ball! As an early member of the deafdogs list, I'm also an original member of the DeafDalmatians and ddblab lists. Through the credit card processing company I use in my store, a contribution is sent to D2Care once a year. Most of my customers know about my work for animals (I support the local shelters in their fundraisers and talk about the transports and home visits I do for organizations across the country) and are always asking after Orion and Nina. They aren't certified in anything other than being the bestest kids a mom could ever want, but they are excellent Deaf Dog ambassadors, and that's all I can ask for.