Home Dog News Deaf Dog and Non-Verbal Boy Learned to Speak Through Sign Language

Deaf Dog and Non-Verbal Boy Learned to Speak Through Sign Language

Deaf Dog and Boy
Credit: Brandi Guillet

Mom calls boy and dog duo “inseparable” now that they’ve bonded through signing.

A deaf dog and a 6-year-old boy have learned to communicate with one another using sign language.

Non-verbal Connor Guillet speaks with his 3-year-old deaf dog Ellie using sign language. According to Connor’s mother, the pair is “inseparable” and “a match made in Heaven.” Ellie was rescued by the Guillet family just before Christmas.

Connor, also adopted at 4 weeks old, had a rough start at life. He was born addicted to opiates. This caused damage to both his brain and nervous system, as well as a disorder called DiGeorge Syndrome (which affects the chromosomes), and autism.

According to Connor’s mother, he is delayed psychologically, emotionally, and physically. Because of this, he cannot speak. He requires speech therapy, and it is not known whether or not he has the ability to speak.


Because Connor has trouble with his motor skills, even sign language is a challenge for him. But Ellie says he is very capable of understanding communication, even if responding is difficult for him.

The Floridian family already had a boxer when a rescue actually reached out to them to inform them that there was a deaf dog there who would only respond to sign language. They asked if the Guillet family would be interested in adopting her.

Connor’s mom was immediately interested, as it made her think that Connor could actually communicate with the dog – something which seems impossible in most other situations.

The next day, Ms. Guillet brought Connor to meet the dog, and they instantly fell in love. Connor affectionately pet, kissed, and hugged the pup, and the dog responded back with kisses of her own. Knowing Ellie was a special dog, Connor’s mom agreed to foster her to see how things went. The pair was immediately bonded, and impossible to separate.

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Deaf Dog and Non-Verbal Boy Learned to Speak Through Sign Language
Credit: Brandi Guillet

It certainly seems like this friendship was destined to occur! Both Connor and Ellie have faced obstacles impossible for many of us to imagine, and it must be painfully lonely to walk in their shoes.

Thankfully, they have found a way out of their solitude and into the arms of each other.

Together they play tug-of-war, play on the backyard slide, and snuggle up on the couch. They can relate to one another, and understand one another.

Boxers are well known for their intelligence, emotional depth, loyalty to family members, and superior interactions with children. It’s no surprise that Ellie is able to understand sign language – this is an astounding demonstration of the intelligence this breed possesses.

Ms. Guillet said the companionship warms her heart, and she plans on adopting Ellie permanently.

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Cody has worked and volunteered with rescue animals her entire life. She worked as a veterinary assistant and technician in shelters, rescues, boarding facilities, doggy daycares and animal hospitals in New York and Chicago throughout her teens and twenties, and now resides as a pet foster mom in Upstate New York.