Meet Mahjong

With the passing of McGrady, our Founder knew that she wanted to adopt another deaf dog given how fabulous McGrady (her first deaf dog) was. After giving herself and her remaining dog (Betsey) some time to grieve, she decided it was time to start looking for a deaf dog who would enjoy taking over McGrady’s AmbassaDog duties. She knew she’d never replace McGrady but she hoped to find another deaf dog who enjoyed working with the public to educate them about how awesome special needs and “thrown away” shelter animals can be. She wanted to continue FMFF’s work to honor McGrady.

Our Founder feels like McGrady sent Mahjong to her in a way. Why is that? She was working with Montgomery County Animal Services (MCAS) because of Fabulous McGrady and Friends Foundation (FMFF). Had that work not taken her there in 2014 and McGrady’s impending death and desire to honor McGrady not sparked her to reach back out to them again in 2023, she’d never have known about Mahjong. With the change in County government, the Shelter now had the ability to help unwanted animals who had severe injuries. A few months after she reconnected with MCAS, they picked up a Border Collie-mix that someone saw on the roadside. He’d been hit by a car, which knocked his L eye out of socket and broke one of his front legs. A short time later, a young owner surrendered a young female Cattle Dog-mix whose leg had been broken months earlier and which was now badly infected and needed to be amputated. Despite everything they’d been through, both dogs had fantastic temperaments. (We’ll write more on their specific stories later)

Finding an adopter or rescue for special needs animals in rural shelters can be a daunting challenge. Our Founder remembered hearing about a Special Needs dog rescue in the past and so reached out to some friends from her Aussie Rescue days to verify that they reputable. Those friends confirmed that Speak Animal Rescue and Sanctuary were fantastic. One of our Foundation’s missions is to connect rural shelters with reputable rescue resources so she reached out to their Intake Coordinator, sending videos and her assessment of the Cattle Dog-mix girl. She then connected them directly to MCAS’s incoming Shelter Director. Despite some interest being expressed about adopting the Border Collie-mix dog locally, nothing ever panned out so MCAS also approached Speak Rescue about taking him, too. They agreed to take both!

At the same time, our Founder started to feel it was time to start her search for FMFF’s new AmbassaDog (and companion for herself and her remaining dog, Betsey) so she applied for one of their dogs who sounded like the right fit. Their application process was as exacting as she would hope/expect from a great rescue. After some discussion with the dog’s foster mom, our Founder wasn’t sure that that dog would ultimately enjoy Therapy Dog and AmbassaDog work that she hoped to do with a new dog. (That dog went on to find a fabulous home with another adopter). However, as her application was already approved, she felt she just needed to wait in the hopes that the right dog would come along.

She started following Speak’s Facebook page. In early January 2024, she saw a Facebook post for an incoming red tri Aussie who was deaf. She was immediately drawn to his story and immediately inquired. His foster mom noted that he (Mahjong, then named Dually) did great at an adoption event to which she’d taken him after he’d been with her only a few days. He was adjusting well to life at her home, playing with her dog and picking up commands very quickly. His neuter surgery was a complicated by cryptorchidism so he had to wear a cone for a bit longer than usual—but was still a fabulous boy despite it all. The foster mom arranged to do Facetime visits with her and the puppy. Although our Founder was very nervous about adopting a dog who was in St Louis, MO, she felt that this had to be the right dog.

A kind Speak volunteer agreed to drive Mahjong to Cookeville TN, which cut our Founder’s drive in half. She then took Mahjong to her parent’s home in Western NC, where he proceeded to walk into their home like he owned the place, give her father a face full of kisses and then start playing with their dog. As per his foster mom’s report, he is very gregarious, super-smart and handsome. He’s been everything she ever hoped for and more! Mahjong is the gregarious, super smart and slightly mischievous dog that she hoped to find! He will be a year old as of 4/5/2024 per his rescue paperwork and he’s well on he’s started training in the hopes of attaining Therapy Dog Certification, which we think he’ll easily be able to do! Finding such a fabulous puppy has brought our Founder SO much joy and she looks forward to having Mahjong as FMFF’s AmbassaDog!