Big Dogs. Big Needs. Big Love.
Special Needs Pets
One of our favorite groups of animals are those that are considered special needs pets. These are animals that require a bit of extra work, be it from one time sickness, trauma, genetic problems, or chronic illness. We've taken in a variety into our rescue and have been touched by them all. They really provide teachings that simply cannot be learned in everyday life.
Deafness and blindness are two examples of what's considered to be a handicapped animal. While they may seem to have a troublesome problem, they are actually only slightly affected by their lack of a major sense and adjust amazingly. A blind dog may bump into a few things here or there, but they live their days as any other, walking around, playing, running in the yard, jumping on the bed, knowing their favorite spot, and socializing with other animals and humans alike. Noelle, one of our Sanctuary dogs, is blind. We had to remover her eyes due to severe Glaucoma so that she'd be free of constant pain. Even without her eyes, however, she can easily walk to the bed, jump on top, do a "back dance" in the middle of the mattress, and then snuggle in for a comfortable nap (picture right). Deaf dogs simply need to learn hand signals and they, too, are very capable of a normal day. They also enjoy the normal things in life such as walks, social events, catch and retrieve, and anything else that resembles fun.
Other animals may find themselves needing a limb amputation. While it may seem drastic, an animal quickly overcomes the lack of a leg and continues to run, jump and play as any "normal" dog. An animal can manage on three legs and remain agile and strong without worry. It's even possible for a dog to find his or herself in need of a wheelchair. A wheelchair is used on animals that are paralyzed and unable to use the front or back legs. Some may feel it's unnecessary to keep a dog in this condition, but they can, again, live long, happy and fulfilling lives. They have a grand time in their wheelchairs as they chase balls, go for walks, explore and play. When they're not in their chair, they simply adapt by doing what they need to do to continue about their day, and do not dwell on the fact that they cannot use their limbs. They just live like always and enjoy the moment. Wheelchairs are becoming more and more popular among pet owners because it gives these animals a second chance on life.
Other special needs are animals with extreme illness or injury. This includes a severe case of mange, trauma that requires orthopedic surgery, any sort of emergency care such as being hit by a car or shot, difficulty holding his or her bladder, seizures, a disease such as Diabetes or Addison's Disease that requires daily or monthly medication, or even one that causes difficulty in walking like Wobblers . One of our rescued animals, Dudley, came to us with a teetering gait, but he was quite normal in his daily activities. He could carry himself without trouble, but he had sort of a drunken sailor type of walk. Sadly, he passed of cancer, but he was incredibly happy and playful during his stay with us. He had such delight that you simply could not be sad or angry around him...he totally changed your attitude.
Included in the special needs list are those that have been severely abused and/or unsocialized, to the point of being terrified of the human race. These animals run, hide, wrestle, cry and panic to the extreme, needing focused and specific attention in order to overcome these fears. We know this is something that can be accomplished, allowing the animal to grow and enjoy not only life, but the happiness that comes along with having a human companion.
These animals are not to be pitied or looked down upon. They are only to be loved. While an illness or injury that is painful or detrimental to the animal needs to be addressed accordingly, so the animal will not suffer, if there is a way to address the issue and the pet can live a happy life, then by all means allow them to do it. Just like humans, they can continue to thrive. Much differently than many humans, however, they do not let it affect them negatively, cause depression or anxiety, nor do they expect more from others due to their own loss.
There is great joy and much to learn by parenting a handicapped animal. So if you find yourself loving an adoptable pet that has a handicap, don't disregard your feelings. Go ahead and adopt the animal and find out how much fun you two can have together. There will be an incredible bond and a monumental amount of love that will never be destroyed.
Below are some of the special needs that have come through our doors. Also visit our Success Stories page.
(Cataracts developed into Glaucoma. The result was the removal of both eyes)
(China suffered a spinal injury and was abandoned at our veterinary clinic. She loves her chair and is even "running" on her own these days.)
(Dudley was either born with a spinal injury or faced trauma as a puppy. He walked with a tremendous swing to his gait, wobbling and teetering back and forth. Very happy and very playful boy.)
(Emaciation, skin infection, fever, yeast, eye ulcer, worms, kennel cough, tickborne disease, ear infections)
(Shot with an arrow; Arrow rested on her heart and lungs perfectly, preventing death. Thank you Dr Myers for taking immediate care of Robin!)
(Severe demodectic mange; secondary infection; yeast; far too thin; very, very sick)
(3month old puppy deserted in old barn and extremely thin, worms, SHOT IN FACE)
(Silas had been hit by a car after his owner allowed him to roam freely. He required a leg amputation as a result of the accident)
*A SPECIAL NOTE*
**We send out a tremendous THANK YOU to all of our donators who have enabled us to take care of these animals! We couldn't do this without you!**