The Beauty Of Other Abilities

Published September 1, 2017

Poppy will never win a dog show. She will probably never hear me calling her to come in the house. She will never be able to jump up on the couch or walk on a leash. She is handicapped due to birth defects or neglect or possibly both. But she has given me so much.

Poppy came into my life a little over eight months ago. At the time, I wasn’t sure if she was deaf or brain-damaged or just wasn’t used to being in a home with people. She had been picked up as a stray and rescued by Forget Me Not Animal Sanctuary of Las Vegas. Her ear canals were plugged with dirt and infection. She had been in a foster home for about two months, but her life before that is unknown.

Since then I’ve come to realize she probably does have some deafness. She doesn’t respond to everyday noises, but does appear to respond to very loud noises. This makes it a challenge to train her as well as keeping her safe; she will never be able to hear me if she were to escape our yard and be in imminent danger. Her safety is completely in my hands.

She also appears to be brain damaged. She will sometimes sit in one spot and stare off into space without recognizing the other dogs or me. And sometimes she will look at you with one eye but the other eye points in the opposite direction. These deficits do not matter because she has so much to give.

Senior pets are the most overlooked pets in shelters across America, but the plight of disabled pets is far worse. People involved in animal welfare do a great job of advocating the joy in adopting “other abled” pets. However, these pets are passed up by adopters preferring a young pet or one without special needs. Many of these potential adopters, without blame, are not able to afford veterinary care above the average cost of regular checkups and vaccinations. But what about those pets who only require a little extra care or attention?

Many people want the cute little puppy or kitten, but what about the ones that have been there before? Some pets have behavioral issues, but a majority of those behavioral issues can be worked on. These pets have so much to give. Many times their behavioral issues are because the people who owned them before, didn’t take enough time to teach them or take them out for walks or just show them love and keep them comfortable. They deserve to be happy, to be loved and to be given the chance to show people how much joy they can give if only they have the opportunity to do so.

Poppy continues to blossom revealing her true self. She loves her toys and plays with Nicki, her new best friend. She also runs even though her back kneecaps are fused incorrectly, so her running is more like hopping. Some people have told me she is lucky to have me. I quickly point out that I am the lucky one to have her in my life.