Have you ever thought of adopting a special needs dog? What about adopting a sick cat? Am I saying you should consider adopting a pet you know isn’t totally healthy? I’m guessing your answer is no to the first questions, and I’m definitely saying yes to the last one!!!
Why in the world would you want a dog that you know has health needs?
- Some of them don’t require long walks-great if you don’t either!
- They need extra love and time, which we have (and often need too)
- They don’t judge our health situation. (no animals do)
- They are OK with just cuddling up when you’re having a tough day.
- You are taking care of an animal that might not have had another chance.
- You will find your new best friend.
- The health benefits of dog ownership are numerous.
Often, dogs who are sick can get better, and many do. Like my sweetheart, Pookie. Most of her health issues are gone or controlled. I will tell you that I NEVER wanted a special needs dog. And yet, that’s exactly what I got. She is the greatest little girl!
But I wasn’t looking for a sick dog!
So how did I end up with an allergy-ridden, ear infections so bad she was deaf, epileptic, bad-knees, barely-can-walk-a-block dog?
I’ll tell you…
I used to have a poodle named Hope, ironically to give me hope when I felt depressed. In a very-long-story-short version—the fire truck that came to save our house from burning down ran over her and crushed my Hope in our driveway. Whew! THAT was awful. I did want another poodle after that, but I couldn’t bear it right away and it’s so hard to find exactly the right dog with the right personality. We just couldn’t seem to find the right one.
As time went on, and the worse I felt physically, the more I wanted a little pup to cuddle with. But let’s face it, I can’t physically walk a dog every hour, nor do I want little puppy presents (aka poop) all over my floor. What’s a girl to do?
I started looking on petfinder.com. I love that you can type in exactly what you want and get adorable faces looking back at you in the click of the mouse. But I wanted a small poodle because I can’t lift more than a few pounds, and I wanted a dog I could pick up to cuddle up in my lap. Also, I’m allergic to most dogs, so we need to be picky. Dogs that meet those specifications are NOT easy to find! And, they are usually VERY expensive (so is my medicine and choices must be made.)
I looked, a little obsessively, online, until I found a little cutie I thought would be perfect. I messaged the rescue, Snooty Giggles, here in Tennessee, about her. They said she wasn’t a good match for me, as she was a little on the hyper side, but they asked what I was looking for and said they’d keep in touch.
I figured I probably didn’t sound like a great owner when I was telling them I can’t move much, or walk a dog more than a few feet, but I decided to wait and see if they would call me. The idea of them matching me up with exactly the right dog did sound pretty wonderful. (Good adoption organizations go through a thourough process to ensure they connect the right companion to the right family)
It took a couple of months for me to get a call that they might have found a buddy for me. They had just gotten three poodles in! They all had significant health problems though, and I really didn’t think I could deal with that when I’ve got my own health stuff here so I told them I’d think about it.
My husband and I talked and decided no, we couldn’t adopt a sick dog. But they had one who was so sick she just sat there on the lady’s lap, and couldn’t be alone when her foster mom went to work because of her seizures. I wanted to have dog just sit on my lap, so we said we’d foster Pookie for 5 days while they found a new long-term foster home for her. Boy was I foolish! One look a that girl and I was hooked!
This is Pookie in all these pics here..
The first night at home, she climbed up on the pillow and curled around my head and my hubby said, “Well, that’s it, I guess we’ll be keeping this dog,” and he was right, although it took us a while to figure that out. She is so calm and wonderful!
She came into our home house-trained and good with the kids (she does not allow screaming though, she will bark at them for that.) What more could I ask for? Oh yeah, and when I’m in bed she stays on my pillow and growls at anyone who dares disturb my rest.
When she had her first seizure I panicked. I called Snooty Giggles and told them I just couldn’t do it, they’d have to find her a new foster. If you’ve never seen a seizure, it’s pretty scary to watch. Then I thought, how could I let her go? I’d go through just about anything for this dog, who better to be with her if she has another one? So I called back and made a permanent commitment. 6 weeks after she came home with me we adopted her on my birthday.
I haven’t regretted adopting her for one minute
She takes seizure meds every day, & I just give them to her when I take my own meds. They’re not that expensive after I picked up a pharmacy card online and cut the cost in half! She can’t go for a walk for more than block without needing to be carried, but then neither can I! Basically, we were made for each other!
Pookie just needed love and a regular health regimen to get her feeling better and happy. We cleared up the ear infection, and now she hears great! She’s on special allergy food so she has no allergy symptoms, and she hasn’t had a seizure in almost a year! She still just sits in my lap all day, that’s just who she is, and I love every minute of it!
So, if you’re looking for a great friend to keep you company, try a special needs dog or cat. They’ll love you forever, and you’ll find out that you have more in common than you think!
(Think you might want to try it, but don’t want to make a permanent commitment until you’re sure? You can apply to foster a dog or cat. You’ll need to go through a screening process, then they’ll connect you with a dog or cat you can foster that will fit into your family. You’ll both be helping an animal that desperately needs it, and finding out if special needs pet parenting is right for you.)
Do you have a special pet? Tell me about it in the comments below…