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  • Gender: Male
  • Age: 11 yrs
  • Size: 72 lbs
  • Color: Blue
  • Cats: Yes
  • Dogs: Yes
  • Traits: Deaf

Remember the old song lyrics: "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, and the other, gold." Our deaf boy, Keller, has quite a different philosophy. His old friends are indeed gold, but new friends are nonexistent. As an adolescent, Keller stopped making new human friends. He became fearful and displayed aggressive behavior around new people. Sadly, all strangers are now destined to stay strangers in Keller's mind. Although Keller has repeated Shy Dogs training classes three times, he still cannot be trusted with strangers. Keller easily learned to follow hand signals and excelled in offering creative behaviors during clicker games; however, he could never be convinced to let the instructor touch him. So Keller became an ACES Safe Haven setter.

Keller is absolutely devoted to his foster family. He has good manners in the house, and he responds to hand signals better than his hearing siblings respond to voice commands. He likes to sleep on the foot of his foster mom's bed, and he's the first in line for attention every morning. One of Keller's favorite games is to run back and forth between his foster mom's legs, getting his bum scratched along the way. Another favorite is tennis-ball soccer. Keller will hold 2 tennis balls in his mouth while batting a 3rd ball throughout the house with first one paw, then the other. All the pups know to clear the way when they see Keller running down the hall in soccer mode. After a recent snow, Keller was the dog who played like a puppy. He ran and jumped, threw snow up in the air with his nose, played chase with his foster mom, and grinned from ear to ear the whole time.

Rescues are often asked to take in dogs that are described as wonderful, loving dogs, but have some aggressive tendencies toward people or other dogs. That description fits Keller to a T. In most respects, Keller is a happy, loving dog, but living with aggression is not easy. Guests can never enter the house unless Keller is crated. Keller's foster family put in a 6' privacy fence so there was no chance of neighborhood children being bitten. The gates are locked to ensure others cannot walk into the yard. Keller's vet visits are also difficult. Although his veterinarian tries to make friends with him every visit, Keller is not receptive. He must be muzzled and held by his foster mom to be sedated before he can be examined. While Keller is usually good with other dogs, he fiercely resource-guards his food and favorite treats, such as rawhide bones. When other dogs tread too close, Keller's outbursts have caused injuries requiring first aid at home, along with a couple Emergency Vet visits. As a result, Keller eats in a separate room and his foster family is careful to never give highly valued items unless Keller is crated until all the other dogs finish.

Keller has been with his foster family since he was 3 months old, and he just turned 8 years old in March. He would probably be surprised to learn that he's an ACES Safe Haven setter since he knows that he's been "home" all these years. At 72 lbs, he's confident of his place as the "Big Dog" of the family. He's a lover, a protector, and once in a while, a bit of a bully. But you can't help but smile when you see his wide grin. Life with Keller is often delightful, sometimes challenging, but never boring. Keller and his foster family wouldn't have it any other way.

January 2014 Update

Keller is an ACES Safe Haven Setter. Keller landed in a shelter at 3 months of age because he is deaf. An ACES volunteer visited the shelter and, even though Keller is not a purebred English Setter, couldn't pass up the deaf fuzzy puppy. As Keller grew, he loved his friends but it became evident that he couldn't be trusted around strangers. So he became an ACES Safe Haven Setter.

Keller will be nine years old this year and he has always lived with the same ACES foster family. He is a healthy, happy dog, and he is in a "safe home" thanks to ACES. Even though Keller is not any easy dog, his family is dedicated to managing his environment to keep him out of trouble.

ACES "Aunt Heidi" recently sent Keller a box filled with tennis balls. Keller was in heaven! His foster mom gated Keller away from the other dogs with the box. Keller took every tennis ball out of the box and put them in his bed. He then stretched out on top of them for awhile, chewing one, then another. Then he played doggy soccer where he puts as many balls as possible in his mouth and batted the others around the room with his front paws. It was one of his favorite days ever.

Another favorite for Keller is snow. When Keller goes outside to find snow on the ground, he lets his foster mom know it's time to play by running back and forth between her legs and hopping around like a puppy. He's always up for a romp in the snow, and he really likes for his foster mom to come along. He buries his nose, then throws the snow up in the air. Keller wants all his doggy siblings to run and play with him, and he's always the last one inside.

At 72 lbs, Keller is confident of his place as the "Big Dog" of the family. He's a lover, a protector, and once in a while, a bit of a bully; however, you can't help but smile when you see his wide grin. Life with Keller is often delightful, sometimes challenging, but never boring. Keller and his foster family wouldn't have it any other way.


Keller thanks the following individuals for their ongoing monthly Safe Haven Setter sponsorship and support!
-  Pamela Miller
-  Michael Warfield 
-  Carmel & Bill Broadfoot
-  Alexandra Witten

We'd like to be one of Keller's special friends. Glad he is making progress. Who would have guessed Keller would take to puppies? That's great to see. Greg Bonetti

Keller sends his thanks and a flying "nose poke" to his new friend Pamela Miller!

Many thanks to the Warfields: Heidi, Bonnie, Carmen & Mike

Keller sends a big thank you to his friends Lisa Rigsby Griffith & Dell Direct Giving Campaign

Keller is excited to have a new friend, Marti Hyland.  Thank you, Marti!