Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

Abandoned as a puppy, this pit bull is now Washington state's first deaf K-9 officer


Ghost's life could have turned out a lot differently, had a rescue in Florida not taken a chance on the deaf pit bull.

He was abandoned as a puppy and nearly euthanized, but the Swamp Haven rescue got in touch with the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society in Port Angeles, Washington, to see if they could help him. Dr. Suzy Zustiak at the Port Angeles shelter told Today that because Ghost was deaf and a "very high-energy, untrained dog," he "pretty much had three strikes already against him," but after seeing similar dogs go on to become working animals, Zustiak called Barbara Davenport.

Davenport has trained more than 450 dogs to detect narcotics for the Washington Department of Corrections, and after some initial tests, she determined that Ghost was ready to give it a shot. Using hand signals and a vibration collar, Davenport and Ghost's handler, Joe Henderson, taught the dog how to detect drugs, and after 240 hours of training, he's now a narcotic K-9 with the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. Henderson said it was "an absolute blast" training Ghost, who is nearly 3 years old and fully certified.