Life throws a lot of curve balls, but what matters most is how we deal with them– and how we use our own experiences to shape and benefit those of others.

A shining example of this is Nick Abbott, a deaf man from Maine who just adopted a new dog, Emerson, a black lab mix, who is also deaf.

Emerson is a sweet little puppy but, though it was no fault of his own, he was put up for adoption after recovering from canine parvovirus and losing his hearing.

“Once we got him home from the vet’s office from Florida, we realized he had hearing difficulties,” Lindsay Powers of NRF Maine, a dog rescue organization, told Good Morning America. “He doesn’t let it bother him at all, though he’s a typical puppy.”

“He had such a rough start to life and he ended up with an absolute fairy tale ending,” Powers said.

Abbot read about the deaf puppy on Facebook and then reached out to Powers, asking if the dog was still available. The pair met and immediately hit it off – and now Abbott has taught the dog sign language!

Richelle Abbott, Nick’s mom, told GMA that the two are now using sign language to communicate with one another.

“If Nick reaches up and shakes his ear lobe, Emerson will bark — it’s so cute,” she said. The ASL sign for the letter S gets Emerson to sit and when Nick signs a straight line, Emerson will lie down.

Their bond and their ability to communicate prove that our differences are what bring us together.