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Celebrating Some Very Special Pets

May 1 2024

May 3rd is National Specially-Abled Pets Day! Of course, we believe that these adorable and brave animals should be honored throughout the entire year! Continue reading to gain insight from a local Mt. Airy, MD veterinarian about pets with special needs.

What Is A Specially-Abled Pet?

Special needs pets can also be referred to as disabled or special needs pets. The term Specially-abled simply carries a more positive connotation. 

This term is used to describe pets that have a certain charm and uniqueness to them, in that they are, well, not quite perfect. While these guys are as cute and charming as any other pet, they may have a few missing or malfunctioning parts. Fido might be missing a leg, or he could be blind or deaf. Fluffy may have been born with a deformed leg, or she may have become paralyzed after an accident. This roster also includes dogs and cats with diabetes. An FeLV-positive feline may also fit the bill.

What do all of these guys have in common? A remarkable ability to melt hearts and bring joy to our lives!

Do Pets With Special Needs Require Extra Care?

Not necessarily. In fact, many pets with special needs don’t really need more care than any other animal: they just need different care. For instance, a deaf dog can be taught to recognize and react to hand signals and a waving flashlight, instead of relying on verbal commands.

Consider the tri-paweds, or our furry friends who use wheelchairs. It’s incredibly heartwarming to witness the pure delight on the faces of these adorable dogs and cats as they frolic and play with their buddies. Over the past few years, there have been significant advancements in pet wheelchairs. While there is an additional device to manage, you may discover that looking after a dog who cannot use one or more of their legs is not significantly distinct from caring for any other canine. 

It’s important to remember that pets are incredibly resilient. Many just bounce back from illness and injury without skipping a beat. One of the reasons behind this is that pets embrace the present, and they don’t necessarily feel the emotional weight of these conditions, as people do. It’s also important to realize that sometimes these things don’t make that much difference to them. For instance, Fido and Fluffy depend heavily on their sense of smell, so they often very quickly adjust to a loss of vision or hearing.

Why Is Finding Forever Homes So Difficult For Pets With Special Needs?

Unfortunately, misconceptions and false information are the main culprits. A lot of people tend to overlook these pets without giving them a chance. One common misconception is that special needs pets require a significant amount of additional care and attention, in comparison to other pets. Some people assume that adopters of these sweet pets should have medical or veterinary care experience, while others worry about the potential costs of veterinary care.

However, many of those things simply don’t apply. Take the example of a pet that has undergone a limb amputation. Once they have fully recovered, they may not need to go to the vet more often than any other pet. A diabetic pet may require a specialized diet and insulin injections, which only require a few minutes of your time each day. 

Every pet is unique, so the situation varies from pet to pet. That’s one of the biggest reasons why this awareness day is important: it prompts people to investigate the issue and ask, instead of making assumptions. If you happen to come across an adorable pet that isn’t all perfect, it wouldn’t hurt to take a closer look. That sweet dog or cat may actually turn out to be the most perfect animal companion you’ve ever had! 

What Preparations Should I Make Before Getting A Pet With Special Needs?

Preparing for a pet with special abilities is generally quite similar to preparing for any other pet. It goes without saying that petproofing is essential.

The specific steps you will need to take will vary depending on the type of pet you are getting. For example, if you’re considering adopting a blind dog, it might be helpful to place carpet runners around your home in order to help Fido navigate his surroundings. Air fresheners can serve as helpful markers for puppies who have limited vision.

Petproofing is a must. As with any dog or cat, you’ll need to remove or secure things that could be dangerous, such as small or sharp objects, toxic plants, and wires and cords. It’s also important to ensure that any potential hazards, like a fireplace or stairs, are properly blocked off. Feel free to consult your Mt. Airy, MD veterinarian for further details.

Are Pets with Special Needs Expensive?

It’s difficult to provide a definitive answer regarding price, because there is so much variation. However, numerous shelters and rescues provide specially-abled pets at reduced prices. Reach out to the shelter or rescue organization and also your veterinarian. There’s definitely no harm in asking!

What Does National Specially-Abled Pets Day Entail?

Interestingly, it was initially referred to as National Disabled Pets Day. The founder made changes to give it a more optimistic tone and shifted the focus towards highlighting the abilities of these pets. The point is to raise awareness about how sweet, cute, and lovable these pets are, and to also bring light to the fact that adopting them can be incredibly rewarding. 

What Can Specially-Abled Pets Do? 

Almost anything every other pet can do! Most importantly, they have the ability to love, entertain us, cuddle, and effortlessly capture our hearts. (They’re also quite capable of making mischief!)

How Can I Assist Pets With Special Needs?

Supporting specially-abled pets is not limited to adoption alone. One suggestion is to consider volunteering at a rescue or shelter that works with pets with special needs. If you have some spare time, you might want to consider exploring opportunities for volunteering or even fostering. Another way you can help is by making donations. Financial contributions are always needed and welcomed. You can also donate supplies or order a few things from a charity’s online wishlist.

And finally, remember to spread the news!  Share that adorable video of pups in wheelchairs running and playing or that deaf kitty being absolutely charming.

When it comes to making positive changes for our animal companions, every small contribution makes a difference. That applies to all worthy causes. However, it is crucial when it comes to animal welfare, as raising awareness about issues in this field can have a significant impact in driving positive changes.

In Conclusion, National Specially-Abled Pets Day is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and raise awareness for those adorable pets who may have some unique challenges but still deserve to find loving homes. It serves as a reminder for people to open their hearts and consider adopting these special pets.

 Schedule An Appointment At Our Mt. Airy, MD Pet Clinic

Do you need assistance with a pet that requires special care? Does your furry friend need to schedule an appointment? Get in touch with us, your neighborhood Mt. Airy, MD pet hospital, today!