Originally posted on PRO Rumors  |  Last updated 5/5/11

Every catcher has to learn to give signs to his pitchers and infielders throughout the game, but in Josh Thole's case the sign giving doesn't end behind the plate. The Mets catcher taught his deaf dog, Picca, to understand sign language according to Nicholas Hirshon of the New York Daily News. Thole adds that his dog caught on pretty fast. “She knows sit, stay, that kind of stuff,” Thole said. “She's an inside dog. She's very good. She really minds her own business.” Thole bought the dog for his wife Kathryn, but they didn't notice anything unusual with the dog at first. A couple of months later they noticed Picca started to act weird, “She wasn't responding to any of the calls we gave her,” Thole said. “She would just ignore us.” The couple took the dog to their veterinarian to find out what was wrong with him. The Dr. repeatedly blew on a whistle that emits a high-pitched sound only dogs can hear, but Picca didn't react. Some pet owners who discover their dogs are deaf fear the difficulties in raising the animals and return them. Thole said that was never an option. “There was no giving her back,” he said. Animal experts applauded Thole's decision to pore over sign language books and teach Picca. Of course the fact that Thole's profession makes him spend a lot of time giving signs to human beings had to help make things smoother. Image by slgckgc under the Creative Commons license. ]]>

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