In something of a real-life “fairy tail,” a hearing-impaired man in Maine has adopted a deaf rescue puppy from Florida.

The proud new owner is now teaching his dog sign language and visual commands, as he looks forward to cherishing their “awesome” bond for years to come — especially because the pooch’s life began with a ruff start.

In March, Nicholas Abbot learned through social media that a precious black lab named Emerson was up for adoption through the North Florida Animal Rescue in North Monmouth. The nonprofit works to save dogs and cats from high-kill shelters in Northwest Florida, and facilitate adoption into loving Maine homes, according to their website.

Just two months prior, Emerson, at only eight weeks old, suffered a ruff bout with the canine parvovirus, according to the animal rescue group’s Facebook page. Upon examination at the hospital for related seizures and weight loss, vets also learned that the dog had been born deaf, and was possibly also visually impaired.

Though reps for North Florida Animal Rescue worried that the sweet dog “may not make it” through the worst of the virus, he recovered. Finding a home for the special needs dog, however, would prove to be more of a challenge.

Fortunately, just a few weeks later, Abbot found Emerson’s photo on the rescue group’s Facebook page, and immediately felt they had to meet.
“I was born deaf,” said,  Gardiner. “I said, ‘Oh, he’s deaf too.’ Maybe I can go check him out to see what he’s all about.”

Abbot went to meet the brave puppy a few days later — and says it was love at first sight.

“He came straight to me at the door and sat right away at my feet and stayed there. So you can tell he kind of picked me,” the man proudly recalled. “And I knew right then and there that we would get along and understand each other pretty good.”

Now happily settled into his new home, Emerson is excelling at learning visual commands and sign language from Abbot, like sitting and lying down.
Moving forward, the Maine man feels that he and the special pup he’s affectionately nicknamed “Em” will be best friends fur-ever.