- Associated Press - Saturday, May 28, 2016

LOVELAND, Colo. (AP) - Eric Melvin of Greeley didn’t expect that taking his deaf dog, Angelyne, to the Paws on the Promenade in 2007 would launch a career, a passion and worldwide recognition.

Their win in the dog talent show led to the creation of “Eric & Angelyne, The Amazing Deaf Cattle Dog,” a full trick demonstration tied to inspirational messages, entertainment and character education, the Loveland Reporter-Herald reported (https://bit.ly/247OwJ7).

“It’s been a magical ride, but our focus is going to be changing after this year,” Melvin said.

On May 28, Melvin will be retiring the performance part of his work with Angelyne, a 10-year-old Australian cattle dog, but will continue the bookings he has scheduled through the year. His focus will be on inspiring, educating and raising awareness about the deaf dog community through speaking engagements and educational presentations and on writing a book about his life and career with Angelyne. His message will be on visible and invisible disabilities and overcoming challenges, he said.

“When people retire, they really retire to do something else,” Melvin said. “I’m confident we told our story and got our message out there.”

The Retirement Celebration

Eric & Angelyne’s Retirement & Career Retrospective Celebration will be at the same spot at the Promenade Shops at Centerra where the two made their first public appearance on June 9, 2007.

Melvin will speak about their career and life together and do a mini-demonstration of the obedience skills and tricks he and Angelyne developed using special commands. He will have scrapbooks, photographs, memorabilia and other items from their career and history on display.

Angelyne responds to 63 different cues that include hand signals, touch, lights, body language, facial expressions and vibrations. She can sit, lie down, wait and stand. She can catch balls, do jumping tricks and wait with a treat on her nose and flip it into her mouth.

“Angelyne is a true animal celebrity,” Melvin said. “She’s a model for deaf dogs in the world.”

Melvin and Angelyne will give their 500th presentation June 7 a week after their retirement celebration. The two have traveled 170,000 miles by road to visit schools, churches, senior care centers, businesses, bookstores, libraries, animal rescue fundraisers and pet expos.

“She can do most everything a hearing dog can do,” Melvin said.

Melvin and Angelyne’s accomplishment include winning 11 dog talent shows, stories in three books, television appearances and speaking engagements. They make an average of 60 to 70 public appearances a year.

They both have invisible disabilities. Melvin was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 14, while Angelyne was born bilaterally deaf. He said having diabetes gave him the courage, compassion and empathy to work with Angelyne.

The Launching of a Career

Melvin and Angelyne found each other Dec. 7, 2005, when she was 5 weeks old (she was born on Oct. 31).

Melvin picked her out of a litter of six puppies, not suspecting anything until he learned in a puppy obedience class when she was 13 weeks old that she might be deaf, because she did not respond to verbal commands. A veterinarian confirmed the case and told Melvin his choices. He decided to keep Angelyne and train her.

“I basically made a blind commitment, and it’s the best thing I ever did,” Melvin said. “I’ve built my whole life around this dog.”

Melvin practiced obedience skills and tricks with Angelyne three hours a day, and a former neighbor seeing him do the work encouraged him to take Angelyne to Paws on the Promenade in front of an audience. The neighbor said his message was too important not to share with others.

“Our bond is very strong, and we orchestrate well together,” Melvin said.

After Melvin gave his presentation at the Paws on the Promenade, he started getting calls for other performances. In 2009, he went full-time to do his presentations.

“That is my magic or specialty,” Melvin said. “I can connect with people. I can connect with people with my story with Angelyne.”


Information from: Loveland Daily Reporter-Herald, https://www.reporterherald.com/

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide