Kroger’s story: How a deaf dog made the world a better place

Mar 8, 2013

Let me start by saying that I LOVE this dog. I love EVERYTHING about this dog! This is Kroger and he has certainly stolen my heart.  The weather was so perfect for our downtown modern shoot in late January.  I just died editing his photos and while I’ve also been anxious to get the full shoot here on the blog to share with you, I’ve also wanted to hold them close for a little while before sharing.  This is one of those shoots that just turned out to be awesome in every way!  I have done some shooting in downtown, but this was definitely the “modern” look that I had been aiming for and it was just what Kroger’s dad Terry was looking for!  I must tell you, Kroger is deaf.  His story is just heart-breaking, but full of love and shows the power of the human spirit.  Kroger went from a grocery store (literally) to the loving arms of his soul mate.  But the woman who helped make all that happen tells the story much better than I ever could!  So read on to see how Kroger changed two lives for the better, and inspired one woman to make a difference for other animals!

*side note: best compliment ever from dad Terry!!! He said he wasn’t the type of guy to put up a bunch of photos of his dog everywhere, but really wanted to get some great photos to share with the people who helped Kroger along the way and maybe do something artsy with a photo or two.  Well, this architect/builder will soon have some great unique metal prints of Kroger for his walls.  YES!

The story of Kroger: How a deaf dog made the world a better place ~ By Lois

Kroger’s luck changed the day that he wandered into a grocery store outside of Atlanta, GA.  When the manager threatened to call Animal Control, a young couple that found him on the nacho aisle, volunteered to take him.  They knew that they could not keep him but they did not want to see him go to the shelter.  Little did they know that Kroger had been picked up on more than one occasion because his owner was not responsible and allowed him to run loose.  This good Samaritan couple named him Kroger after the grocery store that he visited.  When they got Kroger home, they discovered that he was deaf.  Their hearts broke when they realized that this poor dog had been allowed to run loose; certainly something that is not safe for a hearing dog, but life threatening for a deaf one.  They vowed to find him a safe and loving home and started sending his picture and information out to rescues.

After many postings among Australian Cattle Dog rescuers everywhere, Kroger ended up at a rescue in Kentucky.  This should have been a lucky break for Kroger but it wasn’t.  The woman that ran the rescue did not like Kroger and after a couple of months, she posted that she could no longer keep him in her rescue.  Kroger’s picture and information was posted far and wide.  A rescuer in Virginia sent his information to an Australian Cattle Dog lover in Mebane, NC. This was not the first time that Lois had heard about Kroger.  She had heard his story when he was first rescued in Atlanta.  She recalls looking into his big blue eyes and saying to him as he looked out at her from the computer screen, “I cannot take you.  I don’t know anything about deaf dogs and I have never fostered a dog before.”  Lois was very relieved when Kroger found a rescue in Kentucky, but somehow, deep down, she knew that their paths would cross again.  She wasn’t really surprised when she received an email saying that Kroger needed a new place to call home.  She decided that it must be fate throwing them together and agreed to take him.

Lois was put in contact with Laurey McElroy of Carolina ACD Rescue and Rebound and   Laurey organized transport for Kroger all the way from Kentucky to North Carolina.  This is when it was discovered that Kroger had been kept in deplorable conditions.  He was malnourished, had gaping wounds all over his body, and had both skin and ear infections.  He was also loaded with internal parasites.  It was truly another of many lucky breaks for Kroger that he got out of that place when he did as he probably would not have survived.

It took Lois six months to get Kroger healthy enough to be eligible for adoption.  Meanwhile, Lois got a crash course in fostering a deaf dog. She taught herself and Kroger some basic signs and read everything that she could get her hands on about owning a deaf dog.  Sometimes that still didn’t play into her favor like the time, Kroger bolted out the front door.  Lois valiantly chased after him in socks and pajamas in the pouring down rain, screaming his name at the top of her lungs.  He ran straight down the busy road in front of her house and quickly disappeared from sight.  As she stood by the side of the road, crying and thinking the worst, here came Kroger running back to her, down the middle of the road, cars honking their horns behind him, with a dead squirrel in his mouth!  Of course, he was oblivious to the traffic that he was holding up and oblivious to the danger that he was in.  This incident became one of many typical Kroger stories that Lois collected in the almost two years that Kroger lived with her.

Kroger became a legend in the rescue world and because of Kroger, Lois became friends with dog rescuers all over the world.  She also got heavily involved in rescue.  She joined All Breed Animal Rescue and that is when Kroger’s luck once again kicked in because he was just about to meet “his person”.  Lois had pretty much given up on ever finding Kroger a home.  After all, it had been two years.  She had posted numerous pictures and stories and carried him to so many adoption events.  He had even gone to two different homes and was returned.  She got lots of inquiries but nobody was the right fit or didn’t follow through until….until….A man in Apex, who was not really looking for a dog, was sent Kroger’s Petfinder information by his friend and designer.  “You need this dog,” she told Terry Evans.  And apparently, Terry did because he adopted Kroger.

In the beginning, it looked like Kroger would not be able to stay with Terry.  The owner of Terry’s condo said that he couldn’t have a dog.  Apparently, Terry has the same determination as Kroger, because he found a place where he and Kroger could live together.  On the Christmas Eve of 2011, Kroger went to live with Terry forever.  And are these two living happily ever after?  They certainly are!

Terry has done an amazing job teaching Kroger sign language and the two of them have formed a bond that nothing can break.  They go just about everywhere together.  Terry has built Kroger a platform in the cab of his truck so that he can see out of the window and bark his high pitched, off key barks at all of the transfer trucks that pass them by.  Kroger is well known as he visits all of Terry’s building sites with him.  He has a wonderful life going for walks and being with a person who loves him and has allowed him to be the best dog that he can be.  He even goes to doggie daycare once a week so that he can have some extra fun playing with other dogs.

Kroger’s story does not stop here.  It continues and will continue for years to come.  Terry has made Kroger into a shining example of what a dog can become if you spend time and effort with them.  Kroger is an ambassador for deaf dogs and dogs with disabilities.  Of course, Kroger does not realize that he can’t hear!  He is happy and balanced and living the good life thanks to Terry.  And because of this one wild, deaf Cattle Dog that wandered into a grocery store, a lady in North Carolina does rescue and has rescued MANY dogs since rescuing Kroger.  She, in turn, has met people and encouraged them to get involved in rescue and as a result, these people have saved the lives of many dogs in need.  All of this because of a dog named Kroger.