A Shih Tzu was originally rescued from an animal shelter in Salem, Oregon, by a non-profit, Dogs for the Deaf, now known as Dogs for Better Lives, located in Central Point, Oregon. Bonsai’s personality was very confident, eager to learn, and easy-going. Not much could ruffle his ole feathers, so-to-speak. Situations like thunder, fire-works, large crowds, trains, planes, etc., didn’t fluster him in the least! So, this is where Bonsai began his illustrious career as a working dog, known as a Demo Dog! His trainer once said that Bonsai was too smart for his own good, ha-ha! He was a little 16 lb., dog, but with an outsized personality! In addition, to the aforementioned skills, Bonsai had great showmanship! He loved to perform and illustrate his skills as a Deaf Dog when employees gave national presentations educating people, clubs, and organizations, about who Dogs for the Deaf was, and the services they provide to the deaf, or hard-of-hearing community! During these presentations, when it was Bonsai’s time to alert an employee (who was pretending to be deaf) that a telephone was ringing, or that someone was knocking at a door, or that a smoke alarm went off, Bonsai would not only alert the employee with a tap of his paw, then go to the source of the sound, he did it with great charm and bravado, by prancing, running around in a few circles, or in a dance like performance! This unique performance endeared Bonsai to his audiences! Not to mention, employees, and his foster mom, also an employee, me. Bonsai was sometimes fondly referred to by employees as our “Celebrity Dog”, because he also did an infomercial with the deaf actress, Marlee Matlin, a fundraiser with animal activist/actress/comedian, Betty White, and was featured on several Oregon’s local TV news stations! He also made a YouTube video at: https://youtu.be/y_oadtRe6f8. When I retired, Bonsai also retired, and that’s when I and my husband formerly adopted him. He has provided many years of dedicated service, joy, laughter, and love; Bonsai will be sorely, sorely missed!
A donation was made in Bonsai's memory and the memorial was created on January 7, 2022.