Aiden Mann, a veterinary assistant from Nashville, Tennessee, is a certified dog dad. He owns two dogs: a Staffordshire bull terrier and Great Dane mix named Lola, and a miniature Australian shepherd named Plum, who he adopted last summer.
Plum isn’t your regular dog – she was born deaf and partially blind. Initially, Aiden was nervous about taking her in as she had special needs. He knew that the pup would require extra attention and care. But from the moment he met Plum, Aiden instantly fell in love.
Before he had Plum, Aiden’s coworkers – who worked with a lot of rescues – were fostering the dog and her brother. Aiden was trying to find homes for them back then. But when his coworker brought Plum to work, Aiden knew where she belonged – in his home.
“I definitely didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but I did know that I loved her and wanted to give her a good life,” he told Insider about his decision to adopt Plum.
Though it involved lots of trial and error, the duo eventually figured out how to best communicate with each other. Now, they’re working on touch signals to help Plum understand specific commands.
“We have ‘sit’ somewhat down, which is a touch under her chin,” the veterinary assistant said. “And when I want her to follow me or go in a certain direction, I will softly guide her nose in the direction we are going or run my hand along her body in the direction I want her to go.”
Since Plum came to live with Aiden, she has enjoyed plenty of activities with her dad and her big sister, Lola. They would go swimming in a secluded creek nearby and go to the dog park to make new friends. The trio enjoyed every moment they spent together.
Recently, Aiden shared a TikTok video showing how he wakes up a dog who can’t see and hear. Waking up Plum from was quite challenging as she gets startled easily. Aiden tried gently petting her, but even a light touch would jolt her awake. He also tried placing a treat under her nose, which proved to be ineffective. That’s until he discovered the perfect trick: lightly blowing on her nose.
“People ask me how I wake up my deaf and blind pup without scaring her,” Mann captioned the clip. “I slightly blow on her. She still gets startled until she feels me. Then she wants all the love.”
And that’s precisely what he did. At first, Plum looked shocked, but after a while, she recognized that it was his dad. The video ended with the duo cuddling on the floor. At the time of writing, the sweet footage has garnered 13 million likes!
Aiden didn’t expect that the video would gain massive attention, but now that it has, he hopes that it will bring awareness to an issue in dog breeding called double merle-breeding. When two merle-patterned dogs mate, their offspring will have a 25% chance of being born as a “double merle.”
Dogs with this condition often have white coats, lack of pigment, and, sometimes, hearing and vision impairments. The veterinary assistant believes that this breeding practice caused Plum’s disabilities. He hopes that the dog’s newfound fame would bring to light this issue, which has been dubbed a “lethal genetic practice.”
Watch the video below to see the sweet way Aiden wakes up Plum.
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Plum’s fans all over the world are lucky because Aiden has created an Instagram account for the dogs in his life – Lola and Plum. You can follow them here to keep up with their latest adventures!