“I’ll take ‘Dead Dogs Can’t’ for $600, Alec”


(Alec) “For $600, the answer is… a video clip”:

(Denise) bites nails… “Umm, ‘What is ROLL MY OWN BLANKET’?”


Kyersten and I attended a play at her college yesterday afternoon.  She attends AACC and had one requirement for ‘Fine Arts Survey’, that she hasn’t been particularly excited about completing.  She had to attend one of the performing art productions and then write about it in a two-page paper.  Somehow, I managed to allow myself to be talked into going with her.  ‘Chalk it up’ to wanting to expose Chloe to new things, while attending something I use to enjoy tremendously – a musical.  “Guys and Dolls” was actually very good and I’m glad I attended.

We arrived early in order to find a good place to sit.  I was thankful I chose to do so, as our tickets had me sitting in an aisle where the floor sloped dramatically towards the stage.  Since I didn’t want Chloe to slide down through the audience during the show, I quickly found a manager and asked permission to change our seats to a section where the floor was level.

We settled into our seats and waited as the opening act was still about 10 minutes away.  A couple scooted around behind us and passed Chloe and I on the left.  The woman jumped a little bit, and slapped a hand to her chest as she looked down at Chloe.  Chloe looked up from a perfect down/stay (perfect because she had already drifted off – smile)

The woman exclaimed, “Oh my… I thought she was DEAD!”

I looked at her with rather bewildered astonishment, and said, “I’m sorry?  What?(I said this while signing “sorry”.  It’s hysterical to me that even when I hear, I start signing if I don’t understand.  Like that clears it up for me?)

She repeated, “Oh, I thought SHE WAS DEAD!

Her husband took her elbow and they moved on down the aisle. Perhaps he wanted to take her to a more private location to HAVE HER HEAD EXAMINED!  I looked over at Kyersten with my eyebrows raised, while Chloe laid her head back down and continued her imitation of a dead dog.  Kyersten has a flair for the understated “duh“.

“Yes,” she snorted rather unladylike, “we carried a dead dog in here and laid it down on a blanket!”  She said it under her breath, but loud enough for me to hear.  (What this lady said must have bothered Kyersten too, as she later whispered, “I think she was just so startled to see a dog, that she said the first thing that POPPED into her head!” She rationalizes well, don’t you think?)

We giggled about it for a few minutes.


SIDE NOTE: I have a very weird sense of humor and my thought process is rather… erm… unique.  I just talked to a trainer at the “Ask the Trainer” booth for the 10th annual Stroll ‘n Roll, “how do you get your dog to fetch something new?”

Tracy B., talked to me about how to teach Chloe to fetch my cane.  (Santa is bringing me one for Christmas because I’ve been a ‘good little girl’)  You start with simply clicking and treating when she TOUCHES what you want her to notice.

So I pictured:

“Chloe… touch the silly lady…”  (Chloe gets up and pushes her nose on the hand of the lady who thought she was dead) Good touch Chloe! (Click… treat…)

Yeah.  Like I said… I have a strange sense of humor…


The performance was nicely done, and I was rather proud of how much I heard AND understood with the help of my cochlear implant.  As musicals have much of the story line put to “song”, it’s rather important to be able to not only hear the spoken lines, but the ones that are belted out to music as well.

Chloe did great too.  She slept through the whole thing with the exception of one scene where a police officer blew a whistle while chasing after the gangsters involved in “Crap games”.  She sat straight up and peered over the heads of those in front of us and watched the chase.  I threw my arms around her neck to talk to her quietly and to insure I could feel any bark getting ready to erupt from her chest.  Fidos For Freedom Inc., does such a great job preparing these dogs for new experiences even from the puppy stage! Chloe simply settled back down immediately after being given the assurance that “all is well”. (Plus the acknowledgment that she wasn’t invited to participate in the chase!)

Sometimes people with disabilities give up on even trying to participate in things they once enjoyed.  They don’t believe that they can make a difference.  They can easily get caught in a vicious cycle of thinking they ‘can’t do anything’ and therefore think ‘everyone should do things for them’.  Don’t get me wrong – there are things people cannot do if they have a hearing loss and have a cochlear implant.  I can’t deep-sea dive, nor hear really well in places with a tremendous amount of background noise.  I can’t fit in a size 4 dress either… although that may be a bit off-topic.

People who hear VERY well, have things they cannot do.  No one in my family has a hearing loss but me, yet they can’t deep-sea dive either!  (OK, I might should clarify that the fact of the matter is, no one in my family can swim!)

But every individual is capable of “something”.  Every person can make a difference.  You know that scary stairwell I talked about here?  In the very corner of the picture, you can see the edge of a wheelchair.  This wheelchair belongs to one of my students.  She was born with a disability that makes things like walking – – difficult.  Yet, she

comes to classes,

leaves her chair at the top of the stairwell,

with assistance goes down the steps,

and then cheerfully grabs her walker and heads to her classes in the basement area.

She doesn’t walk well… but to know her is to love her. She always smiles, and is graceful and beautiful in her performance of music in sign.

I’ve met a number of bloggers through the internet who also have disabilities.  Each and every one of them make a difference,


to someone.

… and you can too!

Denise Portis

© 2008 Hearing Loss Journal

2 thoughts on ““I’ll take ‘Dead Dogs Can’t’ for $600, Alec”

  1. Dead dog…lol…that’s a new one!

    And good for you Chloe…I know it’s hard to sit through musicals sometimes! We went to one at Jessi’s school…and I just ignored all the kids running down the aisle. But we also went this past summer to Wolf Trap, and saw the NSO perform Tchaikovsky…I stood up and watched the fireworks during the 1812 Overture…but no barking!

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