I am currently the dog mom of a 3 legger (or tri-pawed as I like to call him) and was once owned by a blind Aussie mix so specially-abled pets are near and dear to me. Whether they come into your life already with special needs or it happens due to age or illness, they capture your heart.
We brought Spock home as a foster and knew he had a severe injury after being hit by a car, but we didn’t know how bad it really was. When we were advised that Spock’s leg would be amputated, we were scared, worried, and concerned about how he would cope.
The first night after surgery was rough because although he was given heavy-duty painkillers, he was still in intense pain and his cries were heartbreaking so I slept on a dog bed beside him for 10 nights while he healed and was finally allowed to walk around normally. Per the vet’s instructions, we were very careful about letting him walk since the bouncing motion could cause issues so I was a vigilant dog mom for those 10 days. Once he was cleared for activity, we were amazed and extremely proud of how well he got around! He had a smile on his face and was ready to rock! The next step was getting him through heartworm treatment and after that, he went from being a very loved foster to a permanent member of our family.
Here are things I have learned along the way from some wonderful specially-abled dogs.
1. Animals Are Resilient!
Dogs and cats have incredible abilities to adapt to challenges and live happy, active, lives. A dog or cat with 3 legs (or even 2 legs) may amaze you at how fast they can run and play just as hard as those with 4 legs.
Animals with rear-end or front-end mobility issues can learn to adapt using a wheelchair and some have been lucky enough to be fitted with a prosthetic limb. Those with vision impairments can learn vocal commands and those with hearing issues can follow visual commands. Even though they often figure things out on their own, it is important to understand your pet's needs and find ways to help and encourage them to live their best dog life!
When my Aussie mix, Cheyenne (1996-2007), lost her vision due to complications from diabetes, we played a game I called “Barko Polo.” I would go to another part of the house and say “barko” so she could find me. She would bark to confirm she was in the game and began her search. Each time she discovered my location she bounced around, wagged her tail like crazy and I gave her a treat (a baby carrot- her favorite snack and vet approved for a diabetic pup) with plenty of praise and hugs. It was her favorite game and very special time we shared.
2. It Might Be Easier Than You Expect!
Quite often, a 3 legged animal will continue on like nothing has happened and can play and run with the best of them. I tell Spock he has less wind resistance and he seems to like that idea…he wags his tail and smiles so I take that as him agreeing. I have even met dogs with no front legs and they were some of the happiest pups ever!
Doggie wheelchairs have come a long way and there are many great companies with quality wheels to fit a variety of budgets. Deaf animals can learn hand signals and some have even learned sign language!
In cases where the animal is blind, there are affordable, specially designed halos they can wear to keep them from bumping into walls or objects. I follow a blind, rescued Husky named Marcy on Facebook and she just became a certified therapy dog! Way to go, Marcy! You can check her out here: https://www.facebook.com/MarcyTheHusky/
3. You’re Helping Those Who Are Often Overlooked
Sadly, specially-abled animals are all too often overlooked by potential adopters because people may think the animal’s needs are more than they can afford or perhaps more than they can handle. It’s true there are some instances where the cost of medications, etc. can be a big factor, but in many other cases all they need are a few modifications, a routine, and a little extra TLC. Giving a specially-abled pet a second chance at love and happiness is extremely rewarding and it feels good to help them! Check out this story of an overlooked dog who found his perfect match!
4. They Will Love You For Your Kindness
Animals know when you help them and will repay that kindness tenfold. You are their hero! While I hope I never hear an animal cry like Spock did that first night, our time together while he healed forged a bond between us and in turn, he has been my nursemaid and source of comfort when I needed it too. Just like animals who appreciate that you rescued them, specially-abled pets often show they love you even more because you gave them a chance and helped when they needed you most.
5. You Learn A Great Deal About Compassion and Yourself
Sometimes we feel defeated, tired, worn out, and we may struggle with illness or injuries. It’s easy to feel down and think you can’t handle something, but when you love an animal who has overcome so much and is specially-abled you can gather strength from their perseverance and they can inspire you to be strong just as you have to them. The unconditional love we receive from animals is an amazing teacher and medicine.
Open Your Heart and Your Home
If you're looking for a new furry friend and want to help a specially-abled pet, please contact rescues in your area. There are so many wonderful pets needing homes; especially those with special needs.
Trey is currently in foster care and available for adoption through Red Collar Rescue of Houston. Here's a little about Trey in his own words. "I'm friendly & like to smile, I like other dogs, I like food and treats, I love to play with my toys, and I'm super cute with an adorable short tail."
There's lots to do in Dallas-Fort Worth just in time to beat the worst of the summer heat. Load up your pups and check out some fun dog friendly events this month!
May 12 - 13
Texas Scottish Festival and Highland Games
May 11 - 13 at Wise County Fairgrounds, 3101 FM 51, Decatur, TX 76234
Strut Your Mutt, the Race to End Animal Cruelty - Hosted the the SPCA of Texas
Saturday, May 12 - 7 AM to 4 PM at Trinity Groves - 3011 Garden Ln, Dallas, TX 75212
Lone Star Bark
Saturday, May 12 - 1 PM to 7 PM at Lone Star Park - 1000 Lone Star Pkwy, Grand Prairie, TX 75050. www.facebook.com/events/161755247949352/
Fast and Furriest Puppy Fest
Saturday, May 12 - 8 AM to 12 PM at Byron Nelson High School - 2775 Bobcat Blvd., Roanoke, TX 76262. www.facebook.com/events/612360932437985/
2nd Annual Dog Film Festival
Sunday, May 13 - 2 PM to 3 PM at the Texas Theatre - 231 W. Jefferson Blvd., Dallas, TX 75208
May 19 - 20
Wags & Whiskers Pet Fest - benefiting Humane Tomorrow
Saturday, May 19 - 11 AM to 3 PM at Parker Square- Parker Square Rd, Suite 100, Flower Mound, TX 75028. www.facebook.com/events/775683249286464/
DAWG Beach Bash 5k & Fun Run - Hosted by Denison Animal Welfare Group
Saturday, May 19 - 7 AM to 5 PM at Heritage Park - N TX-91, Denison, TX 75020
Dallas Pet Expo
Saturday, May 19 from 10 AM to 5 PM and Sunday, May 20 11 AM to 4 PM at Dallas Market Hall. www.facebook.com/DallasPetExpo/
Unleashed Paws Fur Fun Run
Saturday, May 26 - 7 AM to 10:30 AM at Noble Rey Brewing Co. - 2636 Farrington St, Dallas, TX 75207. www.unleashedpaws.com/fur-fun-run
Each month during the Year of the Dog, Mr. Wigglebottom's selects a rescue or animal charity to receive a donation based on a portion of our sales. All sales from May 1 - June 30, 2018 will go to P.E.T.S. Low Cost Spay & Neuter Clinic in Wichita Falls, Texas to assist P.E.T.S. with the care of dogs in the Underdog Express program.
P.E.T.S. was founded 10 years ago to provide low cost sterilization as well as preventive vet care. They have grown to incorporate the P.E.T.S. Pantry Program which provides pet food to pet owners temporarily down on their luck financially to allow them to keep their pets; ChainOffWF which builds fences for chained dogs every weekend allowing pet owners to get their dogs off chains (it is now against city ordinance so owners must unchain or give up dogs); and Underdog Express. Underdog Express gets most of their foster dogs' vetting done through P.E.T.S. which makes it affordable for the group to save more dogs. P.E.T.S. standing as a 10-year-old successful nonprofit has made it possible to obtain grants to help with some vetting costs for the program. Underdog Express has sent well over 1,600 dogs from the Wichita Falls, TX area to Dewitt, NY (near Syracuse) since they joined the Love On Wheels program 4 years ago this summer. The program has been a literal lifesaver to the dogs and has even allowed one small community, Electra, to reach "No Kill" status.
A few of the dogs saved by Underdog Express
3 dogs were dumped at Goatman's Bridge in Burkburnett TX. They were rescued and 2 went to Helping Hounds in NY while the third was adopted in Wichita Falls, TX.
Dogs are the heart of our business and Mr. Wigglebottom’s was created from our love of all dogs; especially those who had a rough start in life. Keeping with our commitment to giving back to animals in need, we have chosen The Street Dog Project in Dallas, TX for our first annual Black Dog Friday! We will donate a portion of all sales from Friday, November 24 to Friday, December 1, 2017 to The Street Dog Project so they can save more dogs from the streets of Dallas. Visit our website www.mrwigglebottoms.com, Etsy www.etsy.com/shop/MrWigglebottoms and Amazon www.amazon.com/shops/MrWigglebottoms to find gifts for your furry pal and your purchase will help other dogs too!
Volunteers found Max while out trying to rescue a few other street dogs that were on their radar and they began feeding him to help build trust and a routine. Although Max was leery of being caught, after a few months of trying, they were able to rescue him. Max had been beaten up on the streets so he was rushed to the ER for immediate medical treatment. He had pneumonia, x-rays revealed he had been shot in the past, and he was heartworm positive. During the heartworm treatment, Max gave everyone quite a scare when one of the heartworms became lodged in his lung. This complication could have been deadly so Max was placed on strict crate rest for several weeks and they are happy to report he made a full recovery and is now healthy and thriving in foster care!
At the end of October 2017, volunteers were at a local shelter checking on a few dogs when a Good Samaritan walked into the lobby holding a box. In the box was a precious, young puppy he found while taking out the trash. She was sick so he brought her to the shelter seeking help and The Street Dog Project volunteers were in the right place at the right time and intercepted her!
The finder named her Lucy and she was lethargic and began having trouble breathing. They rushed Lucy to the ER and she was whisked to the back and put on oxygen. She had puzzling symptoms and ominous lab results. The ER suggested euthanizing her due to suspected antifreeze poisoning but after consulting with one of the rescue’s regular veterinarians, they moved her to another clinic and hospitalized her to give her a chance to respond to treatment. They soon found out Lucy had lepto. Fortunately, they caught it early and she fought hard and responded well to treatment...but her battle wasn't over yet as then she was diagnosed with yet another potentially deadly illness, parvo! Lucy is a brave, tough puppy and she's a survivor! Lucy was recently discharged from the vet and has moved into a loving foster home!
Let's make this holiday season a great one for dogs like Max and Lucy!
Happy Holidays from everyone at Mr. Wigglebottom's!
We have been fortunate to be a part of the rescue community for many years and make happy tails happen through fostering, transporting, and volunteering. We've seen some of the best and some of the worst and when we started this company, we promised to not only provide quality products for dogs, but also do our part as a local business to help those rescue dogs who require additional care. Topaz is a prime example of a dog who needs all the help she can get so we are donating a percentage of our sales this weekend, August 5-7, 2016, via our website and at local events to help with her extensive medical issues.
Topaz's story - She was rescued from the Fort Worth, TX shelter by Apollo Support and Rescue (based in Justin, TX). She is now in foster care with our good friend Kristi who is loving and helping Topaz through her many medical treatments. Topaz suffers from a severe case of demodex mange, fungal infections of the skin, is about 20 pounds underweight and she's heartworm positive. That list alone is more than any dog should ever suffer, but it gets much worse. Topaz also has cancer and once she is over her external issues, one of her back legs and part of a front foot will be amputated to try and stop the spread of this deadly disease. She will also undergo chemotherapy.
It will be a long road to recovery for Topaz, but we hope our donation and those from the community will help her through this. A percentage of all online purchases via our website and purchases made in person at this weekend's events will be donated so please visit us and send some good vibes for Miss Topaz!
Saturday, August 6th from 1pm -6pm at Crashed Toys-Dallas for the Barks and Bikes
7777 John W. Carpenter Frwy, Dallas, TX 75247
Sunday, August 7th from 10am - 2pm at the Carrollton Farmers Market
2722 N. Josey Ln., Carrollton, TX 75007