09/25/2015 10:42 EDT

Dog Saved From Death Row Understands Sign Language

Deaf Dal

At only six months old, Charlie the deaf Dalmatian faced death row.

One year later, Charlie is now a service and therapy dog who lives comfortably in New York City with his owner and trainer Colleen.

For the last time woman. Get a bag big enough to carry me around with you all day! #smalldoginabigdogsbody photo by @nycdogswag

A photo posted by Deaf Dalmatian named Charlie (@deafdal) on

Colleen received a call that a deaf puppy was in a kill shelter in New York, likely to be put down because of his disability, she writes on her website, Dogs On. Though she had just lost a dog six months prior, she went to meet him.

"Charlie and I developed a language and he learned 'come' within a few minutes of meeting," she writes. Colleen first taught herself American Sign Language, then took Charlie through six months of training and exercise with the ASPCA before he was named an official therapy dog.

I am a THERAPY DOG! Thank you @aspca for organizing the training and test! I PASSED 😁🙌🐶

A photo posted by Deaf Dalmatian named Charlie (@deafdal) on

Colleen explained to Buzzfeed that the type of signs she uses with Charlie are similar but not identical to ASL, since some signs are too similar for him to comprehend.

Check out the video below to learn more about Charlie.

This Deaf Dalmatian Defied The Odds And Is Now Making The World A Better Place

Posted by BuzzFeed BFF on Tuesday, September 22, 2015