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Blind deaf dog with dementia is one of the worst experiences for her family
A blind and deaf dog rescued from the streets by her owners has an IQ of just 17. But the family have told how her personality and character has blossomed over the last year.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, called Hana, was found by her owners as a stray and given a name that loosely translates as 'beautiful' in Welsh.
It means her name is written in two languages on the dog-tag she wears around her neck.
Her owners, who have two other dogs and five children, initially called Hana Bambina, after the famous Spanish clown.
They have renamed her 'Sue' - her new nickname in Welsh means the name of a flower.
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The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, called Hana, is blind and deaf but now has an IQ of just 17 after being rescued from the streets. The family are now taking her to an animal welfare group for training
Despite being named after a flower, Hana has quickly taken to the love and affection of her owners, who named her Sue in Welsh, for her bright, happy nature
Hana, who was found as a stray on their front doorstep and given the name Hana, will be taken by her owners to be put into training, to see if she can take on other dogs
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is also partially deaf in both ears and her owners think she might have a condition known as progressive blindness
The girl, who is now 12, said: 'She has always been a playful and gentle soul. She is a beautiful, happy dog who enjoys being cuddled and she loves affection. She is super-docile and I'm sure she will make a great therapy dog.'
'Her other owners are very affectionate with her and we've noticed that her personality is developing. She seems to enjoy playing and learning new things and has a very bright, happy and playful nature.
'She is blind and deaf and she is partially deaf. We think she might have a condition called progressive blindness, which would explain why she seems to be able to hear and see objects when they are right in front of her.
'She has an IQ of 17 and would not understand it if I told her what it was. She just knows what she likes and she enjoys playing.
'She can bark, and she loves being given attention and affection.'
The girl's mother Helen, 38, said: 'She has always been a little curious so I thought it would be nice to give her a treat and see what happened.
'She loves anything to do with flowers and she kept coming to the window. After a while I thought she wanted her attention and I asked what she wanted.
'She just kept making that happy noise and wagging her tail. I put a bit of food out for her and put a flower on the floor so she could see it and I thought she would run up to it to eat it but she didn't.
'That's when I realised she wanted to play with it and that was a sign to me that she had some sort of language and it was the way to communicate.
'I asked my husband to get her a toy and she grabbed it in her mouth and chewed it. Then I asked her to play with my fingers and she nipped me.'
She added: 'I called to my daughter to give her a treat and she got it in her mouth. I asked her what it was and she looked at me and wagged her tail.
'My daughter thinks she is quite clever and doesn't like it when people do things with her that she thinks are stupid. She has been taught how to say hello, goodbye and how to give people a hug.
'She is learning to say "thank you" too and now she says "I love you" and she looks at me like she is asking me if I love her. She will come up to me and try and get my hands to play with her and sometimes she just wants to hug my head.
'She was just lying in my lap and I was feeding her with a syringe and she pulled my syringe out of my hand and bit it. Now she just wants to put things in her mouth and to play with toys and it doesn't even matter if there is a meal coming.'
Dr Sarah O'Byrne, who runs the Centre for Learning and Development at the University of Strathclyde, is amazed that even an ordinary dog can understand so many complex words.
She told The Mail on Sunday: 'A lot of animals have a range of sounds and signals, but this is an incredible skill. It is not something dogs normally pick up on very quickly, but there is good evidence of some ability in a variety of species.
'What makes us humans unique is the ability to use words in a precise manner, to understand a whole range of meanings and to use that to interact with others.
'Dogs can't use language in the same way but they are certainly able to use signals and gestures in complex ways.
'For example, a dog understands that "come here" is a request for something, a direction to go, a command.
'Dogs can learn to sit still and listen as well as being taught to perform, and they can be taught to respond to certain words and objects in a very sophisticated way.
'Dogs can be taught to speak a few words but it takes time and requires a complex set of lessons. It isn't an automatic skill.'
She says dogs can learn to use certain words with a sense of when the owner is angry, and when they are tired or feeling happy.
She told the Mail on Sunday that one of her two Border Collies could distinguish between a hundred different types of commands, from 'good girl' and 'yes' to 'bad dog', 'get out', and 'get down'.
Dogs also understand a whole range of other words and sounds, from 'sit', 'lie down', 'treat', 'stay', 'fetch', 'come' and 'stop'.
Professor Sarah Brosnan, Director of the National Research Center for Education and Counselling, at the University of Limerick, who has been working with dogs for the last six years, says: 'We really need to consider just how powerful the ability of dogs to communicate is.
'While we talk about dogs being great communicators we have to ask ourselves how many people can converse