Special needs animals can make very special pets

Older dogs don't get looked at as much as the puppies. A new SPCA program wants to take away that stigma.

Don’t think of them as old – think of them as experienced.

People who want to adopt a dog tend to gravitate toward puppies and younger dogs for a number of straightforward reasons – but older or sick or injured dogs can make equally rewarding pets, and shelters have been taking to social media to advocate for homes for these special needs (with emphasis on the ‘special’) pets, with a certain amount of success.

Consider Sir Newton, an adorable 10-year-old black cat with beautiful green eyes and a neurological problem that caused him problems walking. After the Front Street Shelter posted video on Facebook with an appeal emphasizing what the kitty could do (eat, drink and use the litter box on his own) a Modesto woman fell in love with him and took him home.

Likewise, Hercules, a small white terrier mix temporarily paralyzed in a fall, and in need of a little special care. The Sacramento SPCA provided medical care to get him back up and walking – albeit in a wobbly fashion – and all in good time, he found a forever family.

Unfortunately, not all pets find that, and older pets can be particularly challenging to place.

Lola, a 12-year-old shepherd/Australian cattle dog mix, and Zoey, an almost 11-year-old terrier/boxer/American Staffordshire mix have been living at the SPCA shelter for several months, said Kenn Altine, CEO of the Sacramento SPCA. Shelter workers love having them there, but would prefer for them to live in a loving home than a kennel.

Update: Zoey has been adopted by a woman who saw her on the ABC 10 newscast! 

Some reservations people have about bringing home a pet with special needs stem from inexperience, Altine said.

Many great success stories come out of a willingness to take home an older or special needs animal, Altine said. A family drove all the way from Minnesota to adopt a second blind dog because, apparently one wasn't enough. A local family that adopted a deaf dog has no regrets.

It’s just a matter of finding the room and the love to make a place in your life to let a dog “Finish out their life in happiness,” Altine said.

“It’s a beautiful gift to give an animal.”

Copyright 2017 KXTV


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