Dog deemed ‘unadoptable' becomes first-ever deaf K-9 in Washington state

When Ghost was a puppy, he was found homeless in Florida. The pit bull mix, was deemed “unadoptable” by animal control officials in Florida because he is deaf.

According to KIRO 7, little Ghost was scheduled to be euthanized, but Swamp Haven Humane in Florida wanted to give Ghost another chance at a forever home. They reached out to several animal shelters around the country, including Olympic Peninsula Humane Society in Port Angeles, which agreed to take him in.

Olympic Peninsula Humane tells KIRO 7 that they reach out to Barb Davenport, who has an extensive background in dog training, when they have a high-energy puppy come into the shelter. When no one showed interest in adopting Ghost, they called Barb.

Barb told KIRO 7 that she began handling dogs when she was only 10 years old. She participated in American Kennel Club conformation and junior showmanship as well as the 4-H dog programs.

Fast forward to 1975-- Barb then joined the U.S. Army. She enlisted in the military specifically to become a K-9 handler, officials with the Washington State Department of Corrections told KIRO 7. In 1979, she officially became one.

Barb said she feels the best part of her job is taking dogs who might not be able to find forever homes, and working to help them become important members of their communities. When she met Ghost for the first time, she felt that his focus and determination would  make him a good K-9.

All of the Washington state DOC’s K-9s are originally from shelters.  Barb has trained over 450 rescued dogs into narcotics dogs. 

Now 2 and a half years old, Ghost lives with his new handler, Joe Henderson. Ghost is in training as a narcotics detection dog for the Washington DOC, where he will help serve the community as the first deaf dog in Washington state's K-9 history. 

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