While I always love to hear about an animal being adopted from the shelter, the stories of special needs animals being given a second chance especially warm my heart! Meet Darla....
"Special needs" actually covers a broad spectrum of conditions and abilities. Some special needs animals require continued care such as assistance with walking or ongoing medication for conditions like diabetes or seizures. Others require little or no additional care. While animals who are deaf or blind occasionally need some extra protection or guidance, they typically adapt remarkably well, and few humans would even detect their limitations. Similarly, the loss of one limb typically does not limit an animal at all. (Be sure to check out the special needs cuties for adoption in today's photo gallery)
While adopting one of these very special creatures is a great idea, one can also foster them for local rescue groups. Finding temporary foster homes for these animals is always a huge need and of great help as they are being fully assessed or recovering from a procedure or amputation. If you’d like to adopt or foster a special needs animal in your area simply check the ‘special needs’ box when searching for your new best friend on Adopt-a-Pet.com
Another great reason to consider adding a special needs animal to your family (provided you are ready and equipped to do so) is the invaluable lessons it conveys to your human children. As I have said before, children learn far more from what we model in our own actions than through what we tell them.
Opening your heart and home to an animal with special needs speaks volumes about the value you place on life, on your fellow creatures and on making a positive impact on the world around you. Offering your love and help to those who others might shun or discard sends a powerful message: that you do not judge others based on appearance or ability, but on what lies beneath the surface. This experience provides a child with a tangible example of what it means to be a compassionate and responsible adult. And even a young child can understand how this kind of acceptance extends to race, class, religion, and other differences.
While a "special needs" animal might appear to have some limitations, there is in fact no limit to what they have to teach us. But it is only with an open heart that we can receive the wisdom they have to offer.
Dr. Pia Salk
Some adoptable special-needs cuties from our gallery:
Jolie, from Bridgewater, New Jersey
Billy, from Los Angeles
Harold, from Brooklyn
Chumani, from Brooklyn