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Consider Adopting a Disabled Dog

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According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), 6 - 8 million dogs and cats end up in animal shelters each year, a staggering 50% being euthanized.
Included in these numbers are many disabled animals that stand little chance of being adopted, often being put to sleep as soon as their holding period is over.
Disabilities come in many forms and include dogs with limb deformities, amputations, and those who have arthritis, or are paralyzed.
More subtle disabilities include deafness, blindness, seizures, diabetes, cognitive dysfunction, and incontinence to name but a few.
No matter what their handicap, the amazing thing is that disabled dogs see themselves as no different to other dogs, they just get on with life, it is us humans who see their problems and may treat them differently as a result.
Increased interest in the wellbeing of disabled dogs, along with advances in veterinary medicine have resulted in many resources and adaptive aids being available to help the handicapped get the most from life.
There are custom made slings, doggy diapers, ramps, and even wheelchairs available, specifically tailored to address the needs of disabled dogs.
For owners wanting more, there are vets that practice alternative as well as traditional medicine and rehabilitation centers that offer the same services to their canine clientele that physical therapists offer to their human patients.
One of the greatest changes over the past few years has been the increase in internet based support groups.
Owners of disabled dogs can find groups covering almost any illness or problem, members readily sharing stories and advice, wanting to help others provide the best for their dogs as well as to find homes for those needing help in shelters.
Are there are challenges in adopting a dog with disabilities?Yes.
Some, for example, need lifelong medications and regular veterinary visits, others may require help to walk, urinate or defecate.
Unfortunately there are people who make unkind comments based on appearance alone, without knowing or understanding; thankfully they are the minority, the majority wanting to know more about your dog and his/her problem, commending you on your dedication, sometimes being moved to themselves help others who are disadvantaged.
Adopting a dog, especially one with disabilities is not a decision to be taken lightly, but if it is right for you, can be a rewarding, enlightening and life changing experience.
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