By: Dan Robertson
May 29, 2013
Simply communicating is a daily challenge for the hearing-impaired, but thanks to a new training program, Texas School for the Deaf students are learning that you don’t need words to talk to animals.
“I’ve always had a connection with them. My mom always calls me the Dog Whisperer,” TSD student Erin Lambert said.
It’s a class developed by the Austin Dog Alliance to teach animal care and training skills, but the class gives them more than just training.
“I’ve seen them really grow and mature and they have gained confidence in themselves,” Margaret Rodriguez with TSD said.
After fifteen weeks of instruction and a month volunteering in local animal shelters, students now have marketable skills.
“The hope is that these students will be able to get a job out in the community, working at a shelter or with a groomer,” Carolyn Hornish with the Austin Dog Alliance said.
Many students said it’s their favorite class.
“I’ve always loved being around animals,” Lambert said. “They’re my favorite thing ever since I was a little kid.”
After the dog training classes, students have skills that could work for a number of businesses. The Texas School for the Deaf Foundation says that unemployment among deaf adults stands at about 40 percent.