Life is challenging enough being deaf, but Micah Valerie, of TN Tarrant's 'Two Silent Cries', also suffers from severe anxiety attacks. His safety and security lies in the capable paws of his assistance dog, Goldie. When she begins to start missing clues, Micah starts to worry. Micah takes her to the vet where he meets Dr. Santiago Cruz. Their introduction happens in a very unconventional way - Dr. Cruz, not knowing about Micah's panic disorder, mistakenly thinks Goldie is attacking Micah and shoots Goldie with a tranquilizing dart.
Even though their meeting gets off to a rocky start, Santiago turns it all around by helping Goldie whose problem is incurable, but Santiago helps Micah obtain a new service dog and ensures that Micah can keep Goldie as well. He is soon a frequent visitor, assisting Micah in his daily life. Since Micah is hearing and vocally impaired, it's very convenient that Dr. Cruz is fluent in ASL (American Sign Language) as well. Rejected by his family at eighteen, Micah has never had anyone to help him take care of himself. Even though perfectly capable of doing so, having Santiago around is a comforting feeling. Goldie and Girlie, the puppy assistance dog, are as much a part of the group as Micah and Santiago are and the two kittens Santiago brings into the family only make it more complete. The warm fuzzies between them grow and they soon become lovers.
Santiago has his own problems. He was wounded in the service and has a bad case of PTSD that he's trying to handle by himself. When he starts staying overnight, Micah witnesses his bad, sometimes violent dreams and encourages him to seek help. Santiago still thinks he can handle it alone until one night when he breaks Micah's nose. Micah doesn't hold it against Santiago; he understands, but, instead of communicating his fear an inability to manage his illness alone, Santiago decides to remove himself from the situation entirely. All this does is make both of them and the animals miserable. Micah is at a loss as to how to bridge the gap between them. Unfortunately, the ball is in Santiago's court.
When I saw the cover and read the blurb for this story, I was intrigued, animals and deafness, how can I go wrong? I am very involved in animal care and have also studied ASL. It's a good story but in some ways it was too short and in others too long. Although, Santiago's knowledge of ASL was convenient, it's unusual for someone not associated with the deaf community to be fluent enough to be able to interpret, which Santiago did frequently for Micah. I do have to admit to my fingers “twitching” when ASL words or phrases were mentioned that I found both amusing and gratifying. My fingers remember even if I don't. Also, there's a lot going on that sometimes overshadowed Santiago and Micah's relationship with each other and the animals. It was difficult for me to feel the energy between Santiago and Micah like I hoped I would. Even though it wasn't quite what I expected, I still enjoyed the story and believe others will too. Thanks, TN, for dealing with the difficult topics of deafness and PSTD.