National Specially-Abled Pets Day is on May 3. It’s a day to honor the amazing pets who’ve braved challenges such blindness, deafness and paralysis, and to bring awareness to the specially-abled pets in need of loving homes.
If you’re thinking of adopting, a specially-abled pet may be the perfect fit for you. Sadly, specially-abled pets are often overlooked at the shelter based on the assumption that they’ll require too much care, but so many of these pets have a lot of love to give and an opportunity for a happy life with their new pet parent.
Thinking of Adopting a Specially-Abled Pet? Here’s What You Need to Know
The key is to ask questions before you adopt. Find out if the pet needs special medication or surgery or has other ongoing medical expenses. For example, if the condition is expected to worsen and require expensive medical treatment, you’d want to know this so you can be prepared.
You’ll also want to learn what type of “pet-proofing” you’ll need to do before bringing home your new pet. For example, a dog in a wheelchair will need ramps to get up stairs. A blind dog may need gates to block off stairs and prevent falls.
Can They Play?
If you’re considering adopting a dog in a wheelchair, you might wonder how they get around and if they do the things “regular” dogs do like go for walks and play fetch. The answer is “Yes!” Dogs in wheelchairs will love going for walks, playing with other dogs and chase balls as much as any dog.
Likewise, blind or deaf dogs can enjoy runs and even agility training just as much as dogs with great vision. With their strong sense of smell, dogs quickly “map” their landscape and learn where the obstacles are and how to navigate them. Blind dogs can learn certain commands like “step up” to help them maneuver in the world while deaf dogs can learn hand signals.
Specially-abled cats can also make great companions.
As with any successful adoption, the key is learning about the pet’s temperament and needs and matching it with yours. You may find specially-abled pets at your local shelter though there are also special rescue groups devoted to finding homes for these special pets. You can check out Pets With Disabilities for listings of specially-abled pets in many areas.
What’s your experience with a specially-abled pet? We’d love to hear about it on our Facebook Page!