The Perfect Pet Need Not Be Perfect
North Shore Animal League America has hundreds of wonderful dogs, cats, puppies and kittens waiting to be loyal and adoring companions. As diverse as they are adorable, these animals come in all shapes and sizes and are all uniquely different from one another. Just like people, they all have individual personalities, attributes and distinctive stories. However, one commonality is that they are all beautiful, intricate, innocent creatures in need of and deserved of caring homes.
It is always a joy and a pleasure to watch the consistent flow of eager and enthusiastic adopters walking through our corridors, searching for a best friend and trusted companion. With stars in their eyes and love in their hearts, excited adopters ask countless questions, tell personal stories, and voice various concerns. They are happy to chat about their current pets, past companions and the animals they enthusiastically foresee in their futures. We are always thrilled to assist in their dreams and help them find the perfect pet(s) for their lifestyles. However, did you ever consider that the perfect pet need not be so perfect?
Â What Are Special Needs Pets?
In addition to the dozens of animals we have here at the shelter in perfect health waiting for adoption, we also have various cats, dogs, kittens and puppies with existing medical conditions. We would like to bring these special pets to your attention, because we feel it is as important, or even more so, for these sweet and vulnerable animals to be in the comforting home of a special family. These animals often get lost amongst all the healthy ones. It always confuses us as to why their popularity pales in comparison. It leaves us perplexed sometimes and often sad, as we admire and appreciate these amazing animals and wonder, â€œWhy are they being passed by?â€
It occurred to us that people may not have an accurate understanding of what little additional effort goes into caring for a special needs animal. We would like to remind you that they, too, make wonderful pets and endearing companions. There is also a very intimately distinctive and significant bond that develops between a disadvantaged pet and a nurturing, human caretaker â€“ one that is so uniquely personal and touching â€“ that it often goes unmatched.
Why Are Special Needs Pets So Special?
Special needs animals come in two types: physical special needs and emotional special needs. Some common physical ailments include: trauma, upper respiratory infections, heart disease, lung disease, FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus), diabetes, neurological disorders, chronic pneumonia, arthritis, cancer, hyperthyroidism, and various physical deformities. These conditions can range from mild to serious and may require medications to be administered either temporarily or daily for the rest of the animalâ€™s life. Some common emotional ailments include: trauma, stress, anxiety, panic, depression, moodiness and in some cases, aggression. These syndromes can also range from mild to severe and may require extra patience and a quiet and calm atmosphere for recovery.
Why a â€œNot So Perfectâ€ Pet May Be the Perfect Pet for You
Most people have cared for a sick person or animal before and understand that it may require a bit more patience and a little more tender loving care. Sometimes restrictions may be put on the animalâ€™s activities or medications may need to be administered. Other than a few simple adjustments, caring for a special needs animal is just like caring for any other pet. Please donâ€™t be mistaken in thinking that all disadvantaged animals require constant maintenance. In fact, many are older animals and are completely housebroken, trained, and mellow and know the routine of being a good pet and a good patient. No matter what the case, the vast emotional rewards far outweigh the efforts, and the inexplicable connection between person and pet is so remarkably satisfying.
Other Ways You Can Help Special Needs Pets
In addition to adopting an ailing pet, North Shore Animal League America offers several options for caring for these special needs animals. We have a Sponsorship Program, where you can choose a special needs dog or cat, and your monthly contribution will enable us to continue providing a safe place for them to live and the necessary medical care they need and deserve.Â
Another alternative is our Foster Care program. Foster Care is an opportunity to care and love for a special needs animal in your own home, without having to make the long term commitment of ownership. In addition, North Shore Animal League America provides all medical care the pet may need at no cost in our Port Washington, New York facility.Â
Â Pets With Special Needs Are Special, Indeed
All of our precious animals have hurdles to face. North Shore Animal League America has hurdles to face â€“ as do we all. We want all of our wonderful feline and canine friends to have the special homes they long for and deserve. Some of them have come a long way, some have elaborate pasts, and all have a meaningful life ahead of them. It is our special needs animals, however, that have the additional obstacles blocking their paths to happiness. We urge you to understand their needs and consider making a monumental difference in their lives.
North Shore Animal League America is undoubtedly determined to reach our goal of zero homeless pets â€“ and will work tirelessly to achieve that. We know that we are not perfect. We do not ask you to be; and we hope that you do not require these dear animals to be perfect either; for pets with special needs are special, indeed.