“Medical Condition”…”Special Needs”…now what exactly does that imply?
For pets looking for homes, that label in many cases might as well be a death sentence. At the very least, a sentence to a life of uncertainty, a life within the walls of a shelter. How many of us humans could be labeled as such?
Dogs and cats who are diabetic, have kidney disease or genetic disorders which all require some treatment – medication, careful oversight on their diet and daily health – may require a bit more effort from those who care for them, yet what we often don’t think of, or quantify, is the gratitude received from these pets. Yes, I said gratitude. Animals are fully capable of feelings, such as gratefulness and appreciation. Quite frankly, animals are capable of more than we humans find ourselves able to do – forgiveness is at the top of the list there.
There are also pets who are “handicapped” – as we refer to people with such conditions – blind, deaf, missing limbs. If you are ever looking for a spark of inspiration, a chance to uplift your spirits, just visit a pet who is “handicapped”. They will knock your socks off! Time and again, these animals prove that they let nothing get in their way, they find ways to overcome their shortcomings, make up for what is “missing”.
Pets with medical conditions are often overlooked by potential adopters. Shelters and rescue groups know that they face an uphill battle in finding homes for these wonderful animals, yet they choose to offer them the opportunity for life by accepting them. In high-kill shelters, these are some of the first ones chosen to be put down. It is a sad reality, and one that is such a waste! Some of the very best pets you could ever hope for have some medical or physical condition.
With the advances in medicine, not just for people but for animals as well, so many conditions that were once considered fatal, or lifelong-debilitating situations, are now if not cured, at least managed with minimal effort. Having pet insurance can go a long way in helping defray monetary costs incurred. An example of how things have changed is with hyperthyroid disease – which used to require lifelong daily medication once it was diagnosed. Today there is a radioactive iodine treatment, one injection, that can eradicate the thyroid problem. There is no excuse for us to end the lives of pets just because they are not “perfect”! And to bring one into your home, providing for and loving the pet, would provide you with perhaps your greatest experience ever.
For those pets who are missing something – hearing, sight, a leg – you must spend some time with one before you make any assumptions. It is truly amazing how brilliantly animals find a way to compensate for that which they lack! A blind or deaf animal can be just the same as any other, in fact when you’re around them you forget they can’t hear or see. An animal who is missing a leg – still gets around just fine on three, with no difficulty. Two legs? There are now devices, such as a cart with wheels, that can assist the animal to be as mobile as possible.
These animals are truly the piece de resistance of pets! They seem to know they are lacking something, need to make up for it, and are particularly attuned to others’ needs. They also have a sensitivity that affords even greater affection for those who will care for them. And those who do, will not only enjoy that affection, they will have the satisfaction of knowing they’ve given a good life to such a deserving animal.
Please consider adopting a pet who has a medical or physical condition! If you are unable to adopt, spread the word about how great these pets are, sponsor one through your local rescue group, donate to organizations such as The Winn Feline Health Organization – or even join Betty White and donate to The Morris Animal Foundation !
Medical conditions, special needs…no problem!