Special and Lovable

Special and Lovable

By: Judy Hamontre, AVHS Vice-Chair

“We have developed a bond with and a love for our Aussie, Ellie, deeper than any dog that has ever been part of our life because of the intimacy of the communication style forced upon us.”

This is how Sarah and her husband Bob describe their lives with Ellie who is deaf and visually impaired. They adopted her as a pup in 2018, knowing she had special needs and would need specialized care.

“Life with Ellie had its challenges, and we had to learn to adapt. We had to develop a new language.  Our language. One of touch and large gestures. We needed extra patience, and we had to let things happen in their own time, Ellie time.”

“We protect her, but we don’t baby her. This is our life with Ellie, and it is a wonderful life. However, living with a deaf dog is not for everyone, but if you are the right person, deaf dogs are a special breed. Ellie is special.”

Living with any dog with special needs is not for everyone, but it is not as difficult as it may sound, and there are many different levels of needs.

The dog may merely have some behavioral issues that means he needs to be the only pet in the house and not surrounded by little kids.

That is my Gracie. She loves adults but fears children. She loves her walks, and we simply avoid children and keep our distance from unleashed dogs and cats. She loves her safe, enclosed backyard where she runs and plays. Noises still disturb her, but comforting words and reassuring touches calm her. She is always gentle with me and exudes love.

Three of my friends in Illinois adopted cats with physical issues. One is partially paralyzed, another is missing a back leg and the third an eye. They all are outgoing and playful, making anyone who sees them laugh. They snuggle and purr their appreciation.

We have heartwarming stories from our AVHS shelter of people who have adopted pets with special dietary needs and chronic illnesses. Many have adopted senior cats and dogs, sometimes knowing their time together may not be long, due to the animal’s age or health.

Bringing a special needs pet into your home may require extra expenses, extra time and energy, extra patience, and extra understanding, but you will also feel extra rewarded and loved.

A passage I found on petplate says it best:

“You might see a special needs pet as a victim. But they won’t see themselves that way at all. In the face of difficult obstacles, they remain resolute and resilient, tirelessly striving to overcome their limitations.

Their most special ability is their capacity to make you love and appreciate them with as much passion and devotion as you’ve loved and appreciated any other animal in your life.”


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