Marley is a certified hearing dog, but he may not be your typical assistance dog because he is a pit bull.
22-year-old Jeff Hayman is completely deaf, but with the help of Marley as his hearing aide, Hayman is alerted of sounds. Marley and Hayman recently completed a 13-week course at Tidewater K-9 Academy to turn this pit bull into a certified hearing dog.
Even though Marley is a certified assistance dog, there are some people and organizations that have concerns over this 54-pound pit bull being a hearing dog.
California-based Canine Companions For Independence only trains golden and Labrador retrievers to be assistance dogs. The organization said they train these specific breeds because they are so friendly to strangers and are like ambassadors for the people they are assisting.
The chief executive officer of Canine Companions For Independence said: “Using a pit bull as a hearing dog is highly inadvisable in our opinion. I can’t say it vehemently enough - I’m just amazed.” He added that he is concerned about how the public will react to Hayman and Marley because of the perceived negative reputation of pit bulls.
The president of Dogs for the Deaf agreed and also was worried about the public perception of a pit bull being a hearing dog.
She said: “You get on a plane with one of those dogs, and everyone will be tempted to get off the plane.”
Hayman said an animal control officer recently asked him if he used Marley for fighting. He also added that around 30 people have asked him if Marley is one of Michael Vick’s pit bulls.
Despite the controversy over Marley being a hearing dog, Hayman said he wants to change how people perceive pit bulls. He wants the public to see that pit bulls can be wonderful and loving pets and can even be well-trained assistance dogs.
Source: The Virginian Pilot