Cassie is a beautiful 12-year-old Belgian Sheepdog who has been there for her mom through thick and thin since she was three months old. She is quite the social butterfly – she gets to go to Barking Hound Village every day for daycare and loves to play. She loves ripping the stuffing out of all her toys and sitting on the couch with her mom, nudging her for ear scratches.

When she first arrived as a puppy, no one could figure out why she wasn’t learning in obedience class when this breed is known for their intelligence. But as soon as her mom realized she was deaf, she started using hand signals and she learned amazingly quickly – Cassie knows more commands than most dogs that do have their hearing! As a result, she is incredibly attentive and completely in-tune to every move her mom makes. And because Cassie’s mom didn’t use a trainer and instead created her own hand signals, these two have a unique language that is just between them.

Usually to get an image of a dog running toward the camera, we use toys and play fetch…but this was captured as Cassie ran toward her mom. ♥

She has definitely mastered the classic “please give me that thing in your hand that may or may not be a treat” look:

She also loves to play hide-and-seek in the backyard with her mom – this is one her favorite hideouts:

April 18, 2012 - 4:37 pm

Jill Sherer - What a beautiful set of pictures. They really do capture Cassie’s essence. What a treasure you have in these photos!

February 15, 2012 - 10:57 pm

admin - Steve – as far as I know, deafness is not common for this breed. And I agree, every time I meet a deaf dog it is astounding to see how responsive they are to hand signals and how incredibly well they adapt.

February 11, 2012 - 7:53 pm

Janet - I personally know Cassie and her Mom. These pictures have absolutely captured Cassie’s essence. She is one of the most superior dogs I have ever met. God bless!

February 11, 2012 - 8:00 am

LeeAnn - Beautiful pictures. The ones with Cassie and her mama brought tears to my eyes this morning – you can feel the affection!

February 11, 2012 - 1:29 am

Steve Moore - Awesome Leesia! is this common for this breed? I just photographed a 12 yr old English Setter for breed project with con-genitive deafness….owner was saying it gets about 10% of ESetters. It definitely made the shoot a bit more difficult, didnt realize how much I rely on noise, kept whistling at the dog …..old habits die hard! Owner was also using hand commands – amazing! Anyhow, as usual beautiful composition and pastel color pallets – love it

February 10, 2012 - 8:50 pm

admin - Thank you so much for your kind comments – they totally made my day! Liz, I’m so glad you like these and look forward to sharing the full gallery soon. 🙂

February 10, 2012 - 7:46 pm

Scott - I have the extreme pleasure of knowing Cassie personally and every time I look at these pictures I tear up. The other comment said it all, they SO capture her spirit and you can FEEL the love she has for her mom through the photos. Only true dog lovers know that feeling. GREAT JOB LEESIA!

February 10, 2012 - 5:42 pm

Liz - Here are some comments I received from another Belgian owner after I shared this link:

I have to say I was not only impressed with the photographer’s ability to get all the technical aspects right in photographing a black dog, I couldn’t believe how well she also captured Cassie’s spirit . That’s not such an easy thing to accomplish, as it’s something Belgians tend to show to their loved ones alone. Sure wish the photographer wasn’t located so far away from where I live, I’d hire her in a heartbeat!

February 10, 2012 - 1:03 pm

Deb - These are priceless!

February 10, 2012 - 12:06 pm

Joyce Ann - <3 just so much love in that sweet face! 🙂

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