Deaf Dog Awareness week is Sept. 21 through Sept. 27 and brought to us by Petfinder as their special way to celebrate and bring awareness to the plight of deaf dogs waiting in shelters and rescues across the country for their forever homes. Don't think deaf pets are any less wonderful than their hearing friends; a deaf dog is just as loving, just as wonderful.

Special needs dogs are overlooked again and again in our shelters and rescue organizations, and the people at Petfinder recognizes that fact and has brought much needed education to debunk the common adage that special needs mean extra work. It often times doesn't. So next time you are looking for a great pet to add to your family, don't be shy; check out the deaf dogs available as well. Once you arm yourself with knowledge, you will see past the special need, to the special dog staring back at you.

Thinking of adopting a deaf dog? Kudos! Know before you go so you are aware of the stumbling blocks, if any.

Is the animal in question deaf by trauma or congenital? Dogs can become deaf due to a drug reaction, trauma or old age, says Petfinder. Or is it a congenital affliction often seen in white dogs (although, not all white dogs are deaf). Breeds such as boxers and dalmatians are more prone to deafness. The dalmatian breed is roughly 30 percent deaf in either one or both ears. If the dog in question was born deaf, no worries, just be sure training is a part of your future, as it should be with any dog; a deaf dog will benefit tremendously from training and learning the "watch me" command.

When photographing your deaf dog, or your deaf foster dog, use treats to gain focus, get someone to help you and try to capture the dog just being a dog. Let people see that the deaf dog being photographed is just a dog that does things just like a "hearing" dog.

There are some excellent rescues across the country that specialize in these special dogs. DeafDogs Rock, Inc. works tirelessly to find homes for the many deaf dogs in their foster network. Give them a look, you might just find your new best friend. DeafDogs Rock is a 501c3 organization located in Virginia with foster homes across the country.

If you feel "deaf dog savvy," give a deaf dog a chance. It could be a life changing experience for you and the dog you adopt.