Issuing simple canine commands like “sit” and “beg” can be complicated if the pup in question is hard-of-hearing—and even more so if the owner is, too. But according to CBS News, a deaf 10-year-old dog owner in California manages to transcend spoken language and communicate with her hearing-impaired puppy through sign language.

Julia, who hails from Pasadena, was born deaf. She adopted her 7-month-old terrier-Chihuahua mix named Walter from the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA last January, when he was between 5 and 6 weeks old. He, too, can’t hear—and according to Julia’s mother, Chrissy, the family shared a special bond with the pooch right away.

"When I first held Julia, since she really couldn't hear my voice, she would smell my neck—and when I first held Walter he did almost the same exact thing,” Chrissy says in the video above. "I remember just looking at him and I knew that he was meant to be ours."

So far, Julia has taught Walter to respond to several sign language commands, including to sit, ask for food, and respond to his name. Watch them play in the viral Facebook video above, originally posted by the Pasadena Humane Society.

[h/t CBS News]

Banner image: iStock.

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