Aiden Mann’s deaf and blind dog, Plum, has become famous overnight thanks to an adorable video of her owner gently waking her up without startling her. Spoiler alert: man and dog end up in a pile of puppy cuddles.
Mann is a veterinary assistant in Nashville, Tennessee. He’s a dog lover who adopted Lola, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Great Dane mix five years ago, and last summer, the family welcomed a second pup—a deaf and blind miniature Australian shepherd named Plum.
The dogs live a happy life with Mann, going on adventures to a nearby creek and playing at the dog park. The two dogs even have their own Instagram.
The 25-year-old initially had reservations about adopting a dog with special needs but fell in love “the second after” he met Plum via a coworker who’d been fostering the dog.
“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.
Mann has embraced the challenge of figuring out how to communicate with his new dog. Through much “trial and error,” according to Mann, they’ve developed touch signals that help Plum learn commands.
View this post on Instagram
UPDATE!! The doctor called this morning and said Plum was up and alert and wanting attention and energetic and just wiggling her butt over the place. She said she should be good to go home today so I’m on my way to get her. She still hasn’t eaten but the doctor is hopeful that she’ll want to today. Thank you all for the kind thoughts and prayers and actions!! My sweet girl is coming home ❤️
“We have ‘sit’ somewhat down, which is a touch under her chin,” Mann explained. “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.”
Because she can’t hear or see, Mann needed to figure out how to wake Plum without startling her. At first, he tried to gently pet her, but even a light touch made the dog jump. He also tried placing a treat under her nose, but the move didn’t always wake her.
The most effective method he’s come up with is to carefully approach the sleeping dog and lightly blow on her nose. When he cracked the code, Mann posted a video of what actually works to wake Plum.
The video is captioned: “People ask me how I wake up my deaf and blind pup without scaring her.”
“I slightly blow on her. She still gets startled until she feels me. Then she wants all the love.”
@aiden_m365Yes I know I have a hole in my shirt lol ##plum ##deaf ##blind ##doublemerle ##fyp ##fypage ##cute ##dog♬ Surrender – Natalie Taylor
It’s no surprise that the 20-second video was an instant hit and got over 51 million views and 12 million likes in less than a week.
TikTok users and people on Reddit, plus emotional celebrities left comments like:
“I’m not crying, you’re crying” and “I’m not crying, it’s just been raining on my face.” Youtube star and makeup artist Manny Mua commented, “Why am I crying…” and Grammy-winning duo ‘The Chainsmokers’ got “the feels” from Mann’s TikTok.
Mann claims that he would not have worn a shirt with a hole in it, had he known how many people would watch the video. But he’s grateful for the exposure because he hopes to spread awareness for animal rights and LGBTQ causes.
@aiden_m365I was afraid to post this but I think it’s a strong message 💕💙💕💙 ##trans ##ftm ##transftm ##fyp ##transboy ##transgender ##transpride♬ If you use my audio pls follow me itshunterwiley – itshunterwiley
Double-merle breeding is a practice that mates two merle-patterned dogs. Odds are 1 in 4 that a puppy will be born as a “double merle,” meaning the animal is excessively white, lacks pigment and is sometimes born without the ability to hear or see.
Mann feels the breeding practice is likely why Plum was born deaf and blind, and he hopes to educate people about the inhumane method.
The fledgling TikTok star also hopes to connect with and inspire the trans community by sharing his own journey and spreading messages of positivity, love, and tolerance.
@aiden_m365Yeah I’m trans… 💕💙💕💙 ##ftm ##trans ##transftm ##transboy ##transgender ##transguy ##single ##fyp♬ original sound – raeganbeast
“With myself being trans and Plum also being ‘different’ I hope it shows that no matter how different beings are, everyone deserves love and a chance at a happy life,” he said.
View this post on Instagram
I just want to thank everyone who helped me get this sweet girl well and home. The past few days have been super rough but our sweet girl pulled through. She did eat a little tonight and has been doing a lot of resting with much needed daddy cuddles. I can’t even begin to express how happy I am to have her back home and in my arms. So thank you again to everyone!!