Deaf, stray pit bull finds lovable home

By Steve Phillips - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A Pass Christian police officer is learning some life lessons from a stray pit bull. It's the story of officer Rebecca Hengen, a dog named Gunther and an amazing adoption.

What are the chances a stray, disabled pit bull could be matched with a loving owner?

Officer Hengen saved him from the streets, took him to the shelter and later returned to take him home.

"This is Gunther. Gunther is a pit. He was adopted from the Humane Society of South Mississippi," said Officer Rebecca Hengen, as she petted her friendly pit bull.

She first met Gunther while responding to a stray dog complaint.

"No one knew where he had come from. So, I transported him to the Humane Society of South Mississippi. And he was going to be there for five days until someone claimed him. Or not," she explained.

This playful pit bull was a far different sight back then.

"Gunther was malnourished. Gunther had worms. Gunther had fleas. Gunther had red mange. He had an imbedded collar, where the skin had grown around the collar," she said.

And one more thing: Gunther is deaf.

After she first brought Gunther to the animal shelter, Rebecca Hengen checked on the dog daily and thought about taking him home.

When she finally decided to adopt the deaf, lovable dog the decision was confirmed in a comic strip.

Hengen reads a daily comic called "Mutts." That day's strip was about a deaf dog looking for adoption.

"And the last panel says 'Listen to your heart.' Now, how could I not adopt Gunther after reading that?" she wondered aloud.

Humane Society employee Timothy Sartin helped arrange the adoption. He calls Gunther an "ambassador for the breed."

"He holds up the breed's standards of being loyal, being smart, being obedient. That's what pit bulls are. So, when they're used for the right way and adopted by a loving family, they can be the most loving animal in the world," said Sartin.

Gunther enjoys playing with his new owner and her other pit bull Maggie. This playful, lovable, deaf dog brings pure joy to the one who rescued him from the streets.

"He goes with what he's got and he does so well with it. He's just, he shows me what life can be like. To live in the moment and be happy with what I have and with what each day brings," said a smiling Hengen.

Gunther's adoption was a quarterly winner in the ASPCA's "Adopt a Bulldog" contest and is now eligible for grand prize honors. You can vote for Gunther on the ASPCA web site.