We've all heard about dogs that help people with special needs. Guide dogs that become the eyes and ears for the people they look after and canine friends that can predict when a person is going to have some sort of seizure – but what about the pooches that have special needs themselves? Would you ever consider or be prepared to offer a handicapped dog a loving home?
There are thousands of puppies and dogs out there that are all in need of help. Some of these delightful and loyal creatures are handicapped in one way or another. Maybe they lost a leg through being hit by a car or some other medical intervention meant they lost a limb, or maybe they were born deaf or even blind. Would you be the sort of person who could cope with looking after a dog like this and would you enjoy giving them a great family home environment to live out their lives? If you are then here are a few options to consider.
Guide dogs for the blind are incredible creatures. Without their help many vision impaired people would remain housebound – they would be totally reliant on other people to do their bidding for them. With the help of a canine friend, these same people are given the freedom to go outside, to do their own shopping and to live a normal life. But what about the dogs that are born blind or that have gone blind and need to find homes?
Sightless dogs make wonderful pets – just as with humans, their other senses take over and become a lot more acute. A blind dog will have a heightened sense of smell and hearing – they soon learn where everything is around a home and garden, and as long as you don't move the furniture around, they manage incredibly well. The same goes for when they are in the garden. Taking a blind dog out for walk is never a problem either, because they listen to your voice and as long as you always talk to them and guide them, there should never be a problem. You are in effect, becoming their eyes for them when out on a walk.
Dogs manage incredibly well on 3 legs – in fact, dogs manage much better than humans when they lose a limb. Some dogs lose two legs and still manage to live out happy and content lives! There are many reasons why a dog might lose a limb. It could be they were involved in a car accident or they may have lost a leg due to some sort of cancer, tumour or other medical condition. Some dogs lose limbs because their owners used them to fight other dogs and when rescued, these poor creatures have to undergo intensive surgery to mend their wounds – often resulting in the loss of a leg, an ear or even an eye leaving them horribly scarred for life!
The sad fact is that many of these dogs end up in rescue centres all over the country. The problem is these dogs could never be as “cute” as many others and are therefore much harder to find homes for. However, if you think you could offer a dog with 3 legs a home then you need to know that taking care of them is no different than taking care of a dog with four legs – they run just as well, they need as much love, care and attention and your reward? You get a gorgeous, loving and loyal best friend!
There are certain breeds of dog that are born deaf – dalmatians in particular are prone to deafness at birth. It's estimated that up 30% of dalmatians are in fact deaf – but this does not mean they are not great pets to have in the home. Just like people, these lovely animals learn to adapt and do so much better than a human could ever do. Naturally adopting a deaf dog means learning how to cope with the fact your pet cannot hear you when you call – and that they live in a silent world. You have to learn that vision is everything to them and as such adapt.
Naturally this means you have to be in sight of the dog for your pet to know you are calling them, which you do with signals. That's the only real difference in owning a deaf or a hearing dog. A dog that cannot hear needs all the same care as a hearing dog – but you have to become their ears for them. You have to adapt to your new friend and learn how to communicate with them – which is a wonderful experience.
This is a much harder thing to do – but the rewards are wonderful. Dogs with long-term illnesses are just as in need of loving homes as healthy dogs are. Very often dogs whose owners have passed away are left behind and if relatives are not keen to take the older dog on, then these lovely creatures end up in rescue homes.
Offering an older dog with a long term illness a home means they can live out the rest of their days in a comfortable, warm home environment which is something they definitely deserve. Many rescue centres are very prepared to keep these loyal dogs in their centres and appreciate the donations they receive to help them do so. But if you think you could cope with adopting or fostering a dog that suffers from a long term illness, there are plenty of well deserving dogs around the country just waiting for someone to take them home.
Some rescue centres undertake to help pay vet's bills on any dog that's adopted, fostered and re-homed and that suffers from a long term illness which means it's one less thing to worry about. After all, vets bills can be expensive and out of reach for a lot of people. With the financial help of the rescue centres, it makes the decision a lot easier to take home a dog with a medical condition – as long as you know you can cope with the condition, that is.
At the end of the day, there are thousands of dogs out there needing all the help they can get. Our four legged canine friends are superb companions – they are loyal and they love to please. Making the decision to adopt, foster or give a handicapped dog a loving home is wonderful – do you think you have a place in your home for one?