'He picked me:' Deaf man in Maine rescues his puppy soul mate

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GARDINER, Maine (WABI) - When Nick Abbott saw a rescue puppy on Facebook who needed a home, he knew he found the perfect pet.

A deaf man in Maine rescued his puppy soulmate / (Source: WABI)

Both Abbott and the dog are deaf.

"Emerson had a pretty rough start to life," said Whitney Sinclair with North Florida Rescue Maine during her WABI appearance in early March.

An adorable, black puppy with floppy ears sat on her lap, staring intently into the camera. He and his siblings were rescued by North Florida Rescue Maine; which rescues animals in Florida and finds them homes in Maine.

"Emerson was having seizures. We weren't sure why," explained Sinclair. "He was hospitalized and developed parvo. And they do believe he is deaf and maybe visually impaired."

No surprise that the 12-week-old puppy pulled at the heartstrings of viewers; especially when he didn't get adopted right away.

Whether you believe in miracles or even destiny, one thing is for sure: Emerson finally found his soul mate in Abbott.

"I was born deaf," explained Abbott.

He saw a post about Emerson on Facebook.

"I said, 'Oh, he's deaf too. Maybe I can go check him out to see what he's all about,'" said Abbott.

Just days later, the two met.

"He came straight to me at the door and sat right away at my feet and stayed there," said Abbott with a smile. "So you can tell he kind of picked me. And I knew right then and there that we would get along and understand each other pretty good."

Abbott uses visual commands to train Emerson. The dog already knows sit, which is the letter S in sign language. And while a WABI camera was rolling, Emerson mastered another trick.

"Lie down," Abbott said to Emerson, sweep his hand across in a straight line.

Emerson dutifully laid down.

"Well, that's a first," Abbott chuckled, looking at the camera.

Em, as Abbott calls him for short, responds to certain tones and pitches, and being deaf only deepens their friendship.

"The bond that we have is awesome," Abbott said, breaking into a huge grin. "We understand each other very well. I'd like to think it was meant to be. He's special."

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