Look, we get it. Adopting a special needs animal, such as a blind or deaf dog, a cat that is missing one of its limbs, or any type of creature with serious behavioral issues, is daunting. It’s obvious that these animals will need extra care, and given that you are just an ordinary person, you’re not even sure how to begin to give it to them.
The good news is that animals, much like humans, are animals first, and their disabilities second. No matter what their challenges may be, their impulse is to be loyal and loving pets to the people who take care of them.
Below are the top five reasons why you should consider adopting a special needs animal.
1. Special needs animals need homes too.
This is a no-brainer. Studies have found that animals with disabilities languish in shelters for four times longer than the average pet, and often don’t get adopted at all. But they deserve loving homes, too! And moreover, just because they are missing a limb, or they need more work to be trained, doesn’t mean that they won’t be the sweetest, most loving pet you could have ever imagined owning.
2. You can become an animal advocate and educator in the process.
Have you ever seen a dog walking with a wheelchair? Or a cat with one eye looking out a window? Have you also noticed how everyone who catches sight of the creature stops in his or her tracks to 'oooh' and 'aaah' at how brave and adorable they are? You don’t need to have kids to make friends with your neighbors. You can get a pet that obviously needs a little bit of extra love, and notice how much kinder the people you encounter are to both you and the animal as a result. Plus, you can use this opportunity to dispell some myths about special needs animals. Look at you — you're an animal advocate now who'd even make LVP proud.
3. There are extra resources for the owners of special needs pets.
People understand how difficult it is to house a special needs animal, and as a result, there are plenty of resources out there to help you manage the financial burden. For example, K9 Carts provides rentals and installment plans for families that can’t afford a customized dog wheelchair. There are also a number of private and state-sponsored organizations that provide financial relief for veterinary care. For a partial list, visit the Blind Dog Rescue Alliance’s website.
If you don’t know where to begin to look for help, as your vet!
4. Special needs pets give you purpose.
Have you been low-level depressed for what seems like your entire adult life? Welcome to the club. And also, don’t you just want to punch people who tell you maybe you should get a hobby to distract yourself? Instead of getting a hobby, think about adopting a special needs pet. Not only will the company of an animal soothe your soul, but also caring for a creature in need might actually lift some of your daily despair — and give you something to look forward to when you wake up in the morning.
5. You can make your pet an Instagram star.
Ok, this is a really shallow one, we admit. But have you ever noticed how so many Insta-famous pets actually have disabilities? For example, Tuna has an overbite. And Lil Bub has an extreme form of feline dwarfism. We’re not saying you should get a disabled pet to get famous. (AT ALL.) Instead, we’re saying, distinguishing features set you apart from the bunch — especially if you happen to be an adorable animal celebrating a holiday. It’s an added bonus.
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