Pets & Animals

Girl who is deaf finds 'best friend' in puppy who is also hard of hearing

They seemed destined to be best friends long before they met.

Walter, a 9-month-old puppy, was born deaf, and coincidentally, so was his owner, Julia.

The terrier-Chihuahua mix was brought to the Pasadena Human Society & SPCA in December, along with four of his siblings.

Soon after, ten-year-old Julia's mom, Chrissy, noticed Walter on the organization's Facebook page and immediately inquired about him.

Chrissy, Julia's mother
Julia and her dog Walter.

"When I first held Julia, since she couldn't really hear my voice, she would smell my neck," Chrissy said in a humane society video. "And when I first held Walter, he did almost the same exact thing."

The adoption was finalized in January, when Walter was 2 months old.

"I remember just looking at him and I just, I knew that he was meant to be ours," Chrissy said.

The pair have developed a strong bond — they play in the backyard (after Julia finishes her homework, of course) and they're working together on signing.

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"I never let her feel any different because of her hearing loss and it's amazing how she is doing the same with Walter," Chrissy, who didn't want to give her last name, said in an email to TODAY.

That's something that Jamie Holeman, community relations associate for the Pasadena Humane Society, found particularly compelling.

"Walter and Julia’s story teaches us to embrace our differences," she told TODAY. "Their story is proof that there is someone out there for everyone. Walter was overlooked by many people because he can’t hear, but this was exactly what drew Julia to him."

Though he cannot hear, the adorable pup knows his name, the word "food" and a few tricks through sign language cues.

Chrissy said Walter has taught her daughter more than she could have imagined.

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"She's learned a whole other kind of love," she said in the video. "I think they were both meant to find each other."

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