In 2012, Farrah Marx was 20, living on her own and dealing with a bunch of health/medical issues. She need something, someone, to focus on – a responsibility that wasn’t herself and could help her forget about all the health stuff.
So she decided to get a puppy from the Inland Valley Humane Society.
In her own words:
I was set on adopting a male puppy. I wanted my puppy to be a boy. I was set on it. When I first saw Semi, she was alone in a kennel, whereas all the other pups were together. I asked the staff member showing me around, “what’s wrong with that one?” and she said “oh, she’s deaf” and the only slight drawback in my mind was “ohhh, she is deaf”.
Semi was 8 weeks old, covered in ticks, and fully deaf. I was told a previous family started the process to adopt her and decided against it when they were told she was deaf. She had a collar and toys left from those before me, who no longer pursued adopting her because they didn’t want a dog who had no hearing.
But as for me, I fell in love with Semi, ticks and all, and also, I will admit, I never even heard of white boxers before her! I just felt like I could relate to her, and she could relate to me.The fact she had a condition of her own actually felt comforting to me. It felt like we could relate. I put in the paperwork to adopt her and was able to take her home with me on July 27, 2012.
Why the name Semi? Marx says: She had big clonking paws that gave away how big she would grow to be. Reminded me of a big semi-truck
Now, three years later, Semi is a happy, fully adapted dog who just happens to be completely deaf. What people don’t realize, is you can train a deaf dog!
Having a deaf dog was different, but also a learning experience. I did a little research on training deaf dogs, but for the most part it was her trust in me and our relationship that made everything work out smoothly. We use hand signals – we have one for Good job so she is always validated when she does something good, “no” or “stop that”, sit, stay, lie down, and shake hands. The biggest obstacle is when she is being stubborn she will just avoid eye contact and look away, stare at the sky so she ‘doesn’t see your hand signal’, totally intentionally!
Semi loves to dress up – she runs to Marx whenever she is getting dressed, hoping her turn is next.
Marx believes she owes it to Semi to help spread the word about pets that others deem “disabled” and “unadoptable” just because they are different. Disabled dogs are often overlooked in shelters and rescues, and are some of the first ones to be euthanized at kill-shelters.
And Semi is doing her own part, taking Instagram by storm and she is even up for A Guinness Record for longest tongue! You can see why…
Marx says later this month her vet will measure it and then the Guinness people will come and measure it as well to see if she does indeed, have the Word’s Longest Dog Tongue. The current record holder is Puggy, a Pekingese with a tongue measuring 4.5 inches. He has held the title since 2009.
We hope we can use that platform to raise awareness and bring attention to rescuing shelter animals and giving animals with disabilities a chance.
Marx is planning on some promotional ware of Semi, stickers or shirts that will benefit shelters and animals with disabilities. Be sure to follow her on Instagram to stay up to date on the latest news. We think this is a great idea and cant’ wait to see that long tongue on a t-shirt!