This deaf man adopted a deaf puppy and is training him with sign language

Lindsay Powers/Facebook

Sometimes a cry for help isn’t heard. It’s simply felt.

Nick Abbott, a 31-year-old man from Gardiner, Maine, felt an instant connection with a little black lab puppy named Emerson who was in need of a forever home. While scrolling through Facebook in March, he came across a post from the Maine division of Northwest Florida Rescue. This animal-rescue organization works to save cats and dogs from high-kill shelters in Florida and place the animals in new, loving homes in Maine.

Emerson was an adorable pup, but the NFR people were having trouble finding him a new home. The then 12-week-old dog not only suffered from seizures but was also found to be deaf. As a result, families were hesitant to bring him into their homes.

Abbott was not simply drawn to Emerson’s soulful eyes and sweet story, as told in that Facebook post. It turns out he understood Emerson on a deeper level. You see, Abbott was born deaf. And, once he saw that connection to Emerson, he felt he had to find out more about this special dog.

“I said — ‘Oh, he’s deaf too,'” Abbott told Bangor, Maine’s WABI-TV. “‘Maybe I can go check him out to see what he’s all about.'”

It only took a few days for the two to meet and make a powerful connection. When the pair got together for the first time, Emerson went straight to Abbott, sat at his feet and stayed there. Clearly, no spoken words were needed between man and his new best friend.

Yet, there was still the matter of connecting with Emerson to help him learn basic obedience and living in his new home. Abbott decided to use sign language to try to train Emerson. So far, the young pup seems to respond well to his new master. Emerson is learning commands like sit, come and lay down. Even Abbott’s mom, Richelle, can’t get over the team’s strong bond and how quickly it formed.

“It’s amazing,” she told “Good Morning America” of her son and his dog. “Whenever they’re together, Emerson is always finding a way to lean on Nick.”

You can even follow Nick and Emerson on Instagram (@nickandemerson) to see their latest adventures! The pictures prove that these two boys have plenty to say to one another about how they feel — even without spoken words.

Animals, Good News, News, Pets
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About the Author
Marie Rossiter
Marie is a freelance writer and content creator with more than 20 years of experience in journalism. She lives in southwest Ohio with her husband and is almost a full-fledged empty nest mom of two daughters. She loves music, reading, word games, and Walt Disney World. Visit Scripps News to see more of Marie's work.

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