By Bethany Mihalik, CVPM, MHRM, CVT, CCFP
Did you know that May 3rd is the National Specially-abled Pets Day? This day of observation is designed to educate the public about caring for disabled pets. Disabled pets make wonderful family members. Handicapped pets don’t know that they’re different from abled pets, and generally have little trouble adapting to the circumstances. Some pets are born with disabilities, while others acquire them through injury, disease or just old age. Regardless of how your pet becomes specially-abled, they can still live happy lives.
National Specially-abled Pets Day also features disabled animals looking for a forever family, and encourages possible pet parents to welcome these special pets into their lives. Remember that just like abled pets, disabled pets experience love and emotions too. Unfortunately, specially-abled pets are often overlooked at shelters because people think that it is too much work to care for them. In fact, millions of animals are euthanized every year because they have special needs.
Prospective pet parents generally perceive disabled pets to be cost prohibitive, but many times, this just isn’t so. A pet that is blind, deaf, or missing a limb does not usually require any different treatment than an abled pet. Blind pets have an extremely developed senses of smell, hearing, and touch that help guide them around their environment. Pets that are hearing-impaired can still respond to sign language commands and hand signals. Pets that are missing legs are generally just as playful, energetic and mobile as a pet with four paws. If you’ve ever watched a three-legged dog at the park, you know exactly what we’re talking about!
A pet with special needs is completely capable of giving and receiving the love and affection of an abled pet, which is why most of us have pets in the first place. So, please consider opening your home to one of these wonderful, lovable animals. If you want to help, but don’t have room to add to your pack right now, please consider donating to a charity for specially abled animals.