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This Deaf Pup Summits 14ers With the Help of Her Pack

Bonnie, a 3-year-old Australian cattle dog is deaf, but that doesn’t stop her from hiking up past 14,000 feet and enjoying time with her new family. On August 30, Bonnie, her sister Bella, and brother Bolt all made it to the top of Mt. Whitney with their dad, Tim Livesey. The team achieved its goal over a 4-day backpacking trip hiking a total of 53 miles. All three pups were dog tired (pun intended) at the end, but pushed through “like the rock stars that they are,” Livesey wrote in an Instagram post. 

Australian Cattle Dogs Wearing Rex Specs Dog Goggles on top of a peak

While this adventure was the crew’s longest backpacking trip and highest peak, they’ve been training for it since the moment Bonnie joined the pack this past February. Every weekday morning, the team wakes up around 4:45 am and hikes five to seven miles at a nearby nature reserve. On the weekends they’ll do longer treks like the 18-mile hike up nearby Charleston Peak (11,916).


Livesey learned about three-year-old Bonnie from a cattle dog rehoming Facebook page because her previous owner couldn’t take care of her anymore. After some hesitation, Livesey drove down to New Mexico from his home in Las Vagas with Bella and Bolt to meet Bonnie. Even though Bonnie’s sometimes shy around new people, when she first saw Livesey, she immediately tried to jump into his arms. “I wasn’t expecting it, but I caught her,” says Livesey. “Right then I kind of knew that she was gonna come home with us.”


All three of Livesey’s Australian cattle dogs started off as rescues that people had posted about online. Bella, 7, had been left in a cardboard box with her litter as a puppy. Bolt, 3, was born with a broken tail so he couldn’t be a show dog. And now, Bonnie.

While Livesey wasn’t sure how Bella and Bolt would get along with Bonnie at first, the three were comfortable with each other from the start. Now, they all watch out for each other whether that’s defending each other from any other dogs, sticking together on hikes, or chasing off sneaky coyotes. 


In April, Bolt and Bella chased off a coyote that had been sneaking up on Bonnie during an off-leash hike. Bonnie had stopped to sniff around some bushes a little ways behind Livesey and the other dogs and “the next thing you know,” said Livesey, “I heard Bolt give out this ferocious bark and he turned and ran back the other way.” When Livesey turned around, he saw Bolt and Bella chasing off the coyote Bonnie hadn’t heard. Livesey now says, “they’re her protection ears because she couldn’t hear the coyote.”

 

READ: DIA THE CONSERVATION DOG SAVES THE FOREST

 

Other than the need for “protection ears,” Livesey doesn’t notice much difference between caring for a deaf dog or a hearing dog. Like many trainers, he’s always trained his dogs with both verbal and visual queues, so the training hasn’t been much different. While on adventures, all three dogs wear RexSpecs and dog packs, but Bonnie also sports a remote-control vibrating collar in case Livesey urgently needs to get her attention. When not wearing her pack, Bonnie also wears a harness that says “Deaf Puppy” so other hikers don’t surprise her with pats from behind. Around the house, Livesey also always lets Bonnie know when he’s leaving a room if she doesn’t notice.

 

“I’ve noticed if I do sneak out of the room without her noticing, when she wakes up she immediately starts looking for me,” says Livesey. “She’ll run out the doggy door looking for me outside, then she’ll come back in and she’ll run upstairs. She almost panics if she doesn’t know where I’ve gone.”


Since Livesey spends so much time outside in the sun and at high altitude with the dogs, he uses RexSpecs to protect them from harsh UV rays, dust, branches, and desert cactus spines. The dogs don’t love putting them on, but they still get excited when Livesey gets them out because they know it means adventure time.


Livesey says the RexSpecs also tend to be a crowd favorite on the trail and he loves seeing people’s reactions to three heelers wearing goggles. “I can tell long before we get to them just by the big smile on their face,” he says. “You get a lot of ‘you just made this hike better’ and ‘the best part of this hike was seeing your dogs.’” 

SHOP GEAR FOR YOUR ADVENTURE DOG

And for skeptics who ask why they wear goggles or think dogs don’t need eye protection, he’s come up with some creative responses too:

“They’re fugitives from the law and the goggles make it harder for the police to catch them.”

“Like Bruce Wane, to hide their true identity so they can lead a normal life.”

“They’re self-conscious of their eye color so they like to hide their eyes”

 

Words by Johanna Flashman

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Gear For your Dog

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Lens Guide

Lens

UV Rating

VLT*

Durability

Recommended Use

Red Mirror

Blocks 99% of UVA and UVB Rays.

Allows 20% of light to pass. Very similar to sunglasses.

Impact Resistant. Mirrored lenses show more scratches than clear or smoke.

Giddy up! The Red Mirror lens is great for most dogs and is very similar to the smoke lens with a bit more style.

Clear

Blocks 99% of UVA and UVB

Allows 92% of light to pass

Impact Resistant. Offers best visibility when scratched.

For Everything except protection from brightness. Great for working, hunting or adventure dogs. Blocks UV is impact resistant and often is preferred by dogs. Great training lens, and when it gets scratched the scratches are not as visible to the dog as with other lens options.

Blue Mirror

Blocks 99% of UVA and UVB

Allows 15% of light to pass. Slightly darker than smoke and red mirror.

Impact Resistant. Mirrored lenses show more scratches than clear or smoke

DM's are rolling in! The Blue Mirror lens adds a touch of flare and is one of our darker lenses for dogs who have sensitivity to light. Perfect for use in sunny areas and for those who love that blue mirror look.

Silver Mirror

Blocks 99% of UVA and UVB

Allows 13% of light to pass. Our darkest lens.

Impact Resistant. Mirrored lenses show more scratches than clear or smoke.

STYLE! Add some flavor to the daily grind with our darkest lens, allowing only 13% of visual light to pass through, making it the best option if your dog has light sensitivity.

Smoke

Blocks 99% of UVA and UVB

Allows 20% of light to pass. Very similar to sunglasses.

Impact Resistant. Offers excellent visibility when scratched.

For everything! Overall the most versatile lens. Great for dogs that are rough on their equipment as it continues to offer good visibility when scratched.F

Green Mirror

Blocks 99% of UVA and UVB

Allows 15% of light to pass. Slightly darker than smoke and red mirror.

Impact Resistant. Mirrored lenses show more scratches than clear or smoke.

The Green Mirror lens adds a touch of flare and is one of our darker lenses for dogs that need some reprieve from the suns brightness.

*VLT = Visual Light Transmission

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Rex Specs

measure your dog in two steps

  1. muzzle circumference

    Measure the circumference of your dog's muzzle where you expect the goggle to land on their nose - usually around the back of their mouth.

  2. head circumference

    Measure the head circumference where you expect the goggle to land on the forehead - typically an inch or so behind the eyes.

Watch Sizing Video
Goggle Size Head Circumference Muzzle Circumference
X-Small Less than 10.5 in Less than 6 in SHOP X-Small
Small 10.5 in - 12 in 6 in - 8 in SHOP Small
Medium 12 in - 14 in 8 in - 9in SHOP Medium
Large 14 in - 17.5 in 9 in - 11.5 in SHOP Large
X-Large Greater than 17.5 in Greater than 11.5 in SHOP X-Large
Small Wide* 12 in - 15 in 6 in - 9 in SHOP Small Wide

*Designed for dogs with a wide, flat face i.e. Boston Terriers
If your dog is between sizes, select the larger size: This will insure the most functional fit and optimal field of view.

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Ear Pro Fit Graphic

EAR PRO SIZE GUIDE

Measure the circumference of your dog's head at it's largest point (just in front of the ears and under the chin).

SIZE

HEAD MEASUREMENT

2 13" - 15" SHOP Size 2
3 15" - 17.5" SHOP Size 3
4 17.5" - 21" SHOP Size 4
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CRUX & TRAILHEAD COLLAR SIZE GUIDE

Measure around the dog's neck as loose or tight as you would like the collar to fit.

SIZE

NECK MEASUREMENT

1 12"-14" SHOP Size 1
2 14"-16.5" SHOP Size 2
3 16.5"-19.5" SHOP Size 3
4 19.5"-24" SHOP Size 4

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