Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Lookin' Back and Walkin' Forward

As we look back on 2011 and the remarkable progress that so many handicapped pets have made in regaining their mobility over the past year, we wanted to highlight the stories of few whose triumphs over their disabilities inspired us and continue to provide so much hope to pets facing similar challenges.  Thank you to our community of supporters who have networked and contributed to make these successes a reality.

Duke gets a Walkin' Wheels and a second chance
In February, a number of our customers and supporters on our social networks contacted us to request our assistance with a dog named Duke who had been found shot and left for dead in the Des Moines River.  Although Duke had been rescued and was under the care of the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, the surgery to remove the bullet in his spine was not able to restore the mobility in his rear legs.

A former street dog who had been born in the wild and relied on the kindness of strangers to provide him food and occasional shelter, Duke now needed a wheelchair and a permanent home with someone who would be dedicated to caring for his special needs as a result of a senseless act of cruelty.

As a company that provides dog wheelchairs and other products for elderly, disabled and injured pets, HandicappedPets.com understands that having the right tools to care for special needs can often be the deciding factor when caretakers are weighing options between giving a pet a second chance at life or choosing euthanasia.  In the case of a homeless pet with special needs, adopters are more likely to commit to a companion who has limited mobility if the right equipment such as a dog wheelchair is readily available.

While we cannot respond to every request for assistance with a donated Walkin' Wheels dog wheelchair, HandicappedPets.com does offer discounted pricing to non-profit animal organizations; provides discounts and product donations to the non-profit Handicapped Pets Foundation which assists individual pet owners who are facing financial difficulties; and we have frequently donated Walkin' Wheels dog wheelchairs in cases where doing so can increase a homeless pet's chances of adoption.

A number of people who contacted us about Duke's situation wanted to know if we could also suggest a sanctuary where Duke might be able to reside.  There are certainly a number of sanctuaries where a pet with special needs could reside on a temporary or long-term basis.  However, based on our experience with serving special needs pets, we also believed that potential adopters who were able to provide for Duke's needs would likely apply to provide him a home and a family of his own.

Lucy in her new pink Walkin' Wheels dog wheelchair
As an example of a similar success, we shared the story of Lucy with people who had informed us of Duke's situation.  Completely paralyzed in her rear legs and suffering from incontinence as a result of being struck by a car while wandering as a stray on the streets in Puerto Rico, Lucy was adopted by Courtney Dunning and brought to live in New Hampshire in 2008.  Only two years later, Lucy made history by becoming the first dog in a wheelchair to reach the summit of Mt. Washington  - the tallest peak in the northeastern United States.

We hoped for a similar success for Duke in Iowa, and we were privileged to be able to provide a Walkin' Wheels dog wheelchair for him.  Now, we are grateful everyday for the opportunity to see Duke flourish in his new home with his dedicated owner Susan and canine siblings Theo and Molly.

Later in the fall of last year, we were contacted with a request to assist another disabled dog that had been found as a stray by the Cumberland County, NC animal control.  Having recently donated and/or discounted several Walkin' Wheels to various non-profit groups, our budgeted supply of equipment for charitable requests to organizations was at an all time low.

However, we did not want to give up on a stray whose potential for adoption could be significantly increased if he had equipment to make him mobile.  We also understood that a county shelter had very limited funding and could not afford to purchase a dog wheelchair with so many homeless animals to care for and place up for adoption.  We were so impressed that Scooter was being provided a second chance at an otherwise crowded facility that we wanted to find a way to help.

It was then that we remembered about an offer from a rescue group in Florida who had a Walkin' Wheels dog wheelchair that had been donated to them by a volunteer.  They did not have a dog currently in need and were offering it up for another non-profit to use.  Death Row Dog Rescue in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida soon had their second hand Walkin' Wheels dog wheelchair en route to North Carolina to get Scooter rolling.  HandicappedPets.com provided the correct size interchangeable wheels for the donated adjustable frame, and Scooter was wheeling around the county shelter in no time!

Scooter says goodbye to the shelter staff who rescued him
Similar to Duke, Scooter has since been adopted into a wonderful home, and we have enjoyed following his progress.  We have also recently learned that Scooter's paralysis was also caused by a gunshot wound.  Scooter is scheduled to be seen by a veterinary specialist in the coming weeks to see if the removal of a bullet lodged in his spine will be able to restore some or all of his mobility.

In 2012, we hope that we will be similarly blessed in our ability to provide innovative solutions for pets with special needs, and we invite you to join us in our commitment to ensuring that elderly, disabled and injured pets have the products, services and support required to lead happy, healthy, active lives.  We invite you to connect with us on our social networks on Facebook and Twitter and in our help and advice forum where we share the stories of pets in need and network with various organizations and individuals in support of pets with disabilities.

We hope that you will join us in making more second chances a reality in 2012.  We wish everyone a healthy, happy and peaceful New Year!


Anonymous said...

You are God's Angels on earth,Thank you for what you do ,your amazing.

Connie S. said...

I never new your organazation existed until Duke,I have followed his journey since he was found on the river,by the grace of God he has a wonderful forever home,your helping him has made the life of this animal whole,God Bless You and Duke's owner Susan and of course the ARL of DesMoines who NEVER gave up on him :0)