Animal lover and pet lifestyle expert Colleen Paige created the national day as a result of working with hundreds of special needs pets as an Animal Behaviourist. Originally named ‘National Disabled Pets Day’ when it launched back in 2006, it soon changed in order to shed a more positive light on these specially-abled animals.
Colleen says: “The goal of National Specially Abled Pets Day is to honour these incredible animals for their spirit and their bravery. Despite their physical limitations they bring unconditional love to the lives of everyone around them.”
“This day gives the opportunity for exposure of special-needs pets looking for a loving forever home.”
Disabled pets are often overlooked
We’ve all heard of pets that help disabled people. But there are many animals with disabilities themselves in need of loving new homes. Unfortunately they are often overlooked due to fears of expensive medication and hefty vet bills. But these pups and kitties just need a little bit of extra TLC and an understanding owner.
Whether it’s vision impairment, hearing loss, missing limbs or conditions that cause pain, specially-abled pets can still lead full lives.
The infamous case of RSPCA Timmy the Chihuahua
The RSPCA rescued 6-month old Timmy in March 2018. He was diagnosed with Luxated Patella, also known as a floating kneecap. This means that his knees easily dislocate, causing lameness and pain. This chronic condition is unfortunately quite common in chihuahuas and in Timmy’s case was severe.
The RSPCA crowdfunded for an operation to improve Timmy’s quality of life. After lots of support from the public they raised over £1500 in donations!
Deputy Manager at RSPCA Millbrook Animal Centre was fostering Timmy at the time of his vital operation and decided to adopt him: “Timmy is such a little character. He is a year old now and sadly has had 3 different surgeries already. Two to correct his deformed back legs, he then also had an accident and broke one of his front legs. But he is honestly the happiest little dog I have ever met!”
“Taking on a dog with a disability is very rewarding and actually good for you. You have to admire the way they deal with adversity without a care in the world just enjoying the moment they are in.”Liz Wood, RSPCA Millbrook Deputy Manager
They see the dogs rollin’…
Wheels4Dogs specialise in pet wheelchairs and disability aids.
Set up 7 years ago after facing difficulties finding a suitable wheelchair for her German Shepherd Heidi, Julia has passed the baton to her friend Becky, who now runs the business.
Becky explains the positive impact Wheels4Dogs has: “From all the feedback I have received it seems on the whole people react very positively towards disabled pets who use wheelchairs. Interestingly owners frequently tell me that walks take a lot longer, as everyone wants to stop and talk to the disabled dog.”
Charity ‘Broken Biscuits’ are helping change people’s perceptions of disabled pets
Husband and wife duo Cassie and Tim Carney started disabled animal charity Broken Biscuits 6 years ago, after seeing so many paraplegic stray dogs in shelters they’d been helping out in abroad. They provide wheelchairs to dogs in rescue shelters.
As well as helping rehome specially-abled dogs, the couple also have their own special fur baby, Otto, a double amputee Lhasa Apso.
“I remember seeing Otto chasing a bee whilst we had gone out for a walk near some bluebells and of course there was plenty of insects there amongst the flowers he was ecstatic. It’s these little things that count: with wheels they don’t miss out on anything.”
Although Broken Biscuits helps rescue dogs, the main aim of the charity is to change attitudes towards disabled animals.
“We speak with vets, universities, schools and clubs and share some of our dogs’ rehabilitation stories so others can see just what is possible and hopefully open up discussions.”
“We have several ROLL MODEL dogs on the team who are brilliant ice breakers for those who may never have seen an animal amputee before. They can ask anything: how they move and do day-to-day activities like going to the toilet. We can laugh about the questions with no judgements or anxiety.”
“We really believe these sessions are helpful, not just for our cause, but to help people understand just how normal and capable our dogs are. They have adapted perfectly well and are loving life just the way they are. It’s a really basic but important message about being accepted for who you are.”
Spread the news today by visiting Specially Abled Pets website.