Adopting Pets with Special Needs

Every once in a while we get a request to take in an animal with what is termed “special needs”. The “special needs” can be anything from having Diabetes to having a missing limb, etc. Once these animals come into rescue, we try our best to help them get into homes that are able to address these issues. Most times, though, these animals don’t have a clue that they have ANYTHING that needs extra care!
Such is the case with Hank. He’s a Treeing Walker Coonhound. He’s clueless that one of his legs is missing a foot. When you meet him, you’ll see that he’s just a big goober dog that is VERY happy to make your acquaintance! Hank may LOOK a bit different, but he’s just a normal, active, friendly pooch looking for a home.

Next is Rocky. Now when Rocky first came into Bandit’s Place, I did notice that there was something different about him. The more I got to know him, the more I realized that Rocky’s sight is poor. I took him to my veterinarian and found that he does have trouble seeing. So Rocky will require a fenced yard with a quiet family. Maybe another dog, too, so as to feel more comfortable. We’ll know his new family when we meet them!


So how DO you treat an animal with a disability? Easy! You treat them just like you would any OTHER animal! Set boundaries, get training, put them on daily medications if needed for that health issue. Love them but don’t pamper them. Remember, THEY don’t know they’ve got “special issues”. They think they’re just like everyone else! Don’t treat them like they’ll break or they’ll end up running your life and your house!

And don’t avoid them because you think they’re different or that they won’t live as long as “normal” pets. Pets with special needs can live just as long as pets without special needs. And the love they will give you is just as real and just as deep.

I have a friend, Carrie, who runs Out to Pasture Rescue. Carrie takes in pets with special needs. She’s got a whole house of pets that have no clue they’ve got any issues. They run around in doggie diapers or pet wheelchairs and they get into as much mischief as any other dog. She loves them and they cherish her. They know she’s said “yes” when most people say “no”.

So the next time you see a pet you might like to bring into your family, and that pet is advertised as having “special needs”, please look beyond the wording and look into the eyes of that animal. Just like Hank and Rocky, they simply want a place to call home.


2 Responses

  1. Your story about “Special Needs” animals touched my heart. You see I have two such “Special Needs” cats. They are a brother and sister pair that were born outside of Boston and were rescued by a very special lady who does a lot of rescue work. I then rescued them from her. Dude, my little boy has Microopthalmia, or “small eye”, basically he was born with no eyes in the eye socket. His sister, Gracie was born with no eye lids and has since had one eye removed and she is blind in her other eye.

    My husband has reservations about adopting these two, as we already had 3 other cats in the house and he was very worried that they would not live a normal life. Well these two could not have proved him more wrong. They are typical cats, they eat, sleep, play and even go on supervised outings outside to play in the yard.

    Please take it from someone who knows….”Special Needs” does not mean these animals do not lead normal lives, because with time and love, they certainly do have wonderful lives.

  2. Interested in Rocky.

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