(The animals mentioned in this post were thanks to www.petswithdisabilities.org, founded by Joyce Darrell and Michael Dickerson)
This is Deon, a 10 month old deaf dog. He needs a home TODAY! See what you can do to help Deon and other pets like him here. You can contact about adoption or make a donation
For starters there are a lot of them and they need your help. "Of the average 300 to 500 animals at a typical animal welfare organization, approximately 10 percent quality as disabled. They're often the last to be adopted." Because they don't fit into your typical idea of "cute and cuddly" disabled animals are often passed over.
Though they don't fit into the usual mold disabled animals offer a unique experience that you won't get with a healthy animal.
Consider Debbie Richie from Charlottesville, Virginia. Talk to her for more than five minutes and you can't miss the fact that special-needs animals have something soulfully distinct to offer.
"You form a different kind of bond than you do with healthy dogs,'' said Richie, who adopted a wheelchair-bound five-year-old Boston terrier named Teddy from Darrell's organization. "I can't explain it, it's just special.''
"I tell people that it might take a few months to get adjusted, but that they'll never have a more gratifying experience,'' said Darrell, who with Dickerson has rescued 16 disabled dogs (six of which are in wheelchairs) of their own and a cat born with one eye.
"What people don't realize is these animals can do anything,'' said Johnson, whose blind collie, Lady, practices agility and "reads'' with special-needs kids every Friday.
Take a look at Howie here.
- Have a plan for where it'll eat, sleep, and exercise. For example, when Richie leaves for work, she places Teddy on several comforters (sort of a makeshift playpen) with his food and water bowls.
- Pet proof the physical environment. Make sure there's nothing protruding or with sharp edges that can be harmful.
- Carve out time to spend with the animal, especially in the beginning, when it needs help adjusting to new surroundings.
- Make sure they have the necessary equipment. There are not only wheelchairs available for disabled animals, but also ramps, steps, beds, and harnesses.
- Embrace the differences between cats and dogs. Cats tend to be very self-sufficient and don't always need the same kind of care and attention as dogs.
- Be prepared to treat them as normally as possible. "How do you exercise a wheelchair dog? By taking it for a walk,'' Darnell said. "The only difference is you may have to help it along.''
Take a look at Bella here.
Any animal takes work and a good environment. Before adopting any animal make sure you have the resources and facilities to give the animal the proper care they deserve. But if you can find it in your heart to reach out to a disabled animal you will receive more than you ever thought in return.