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2018 - saving the medically challenged dogs that had only ONE option - PWD
This is the 15th anniversary of Pets with Disabilities!!
It was also a year of many "1st's" for us.

After 15 years of rescue work, we thought we had taken you through all possibilities of the help that dogs with disabilities might need - amputations, eye removals, neurological issues, wheelchairs needed, mammary tumors, etc. Yet this year we had SEVERAL "1st's" .  Our 1st double front amputee, our 1st 2-year-old with bone cancer, our 1st puppy with disconnected brain hemispheres... ALL sitting at the door of the euthanasia room because no one else could handle their medical needs. Your support allowed us to manage our 1st year of vet bills exceeding $80,000 . SO... we have wonderful canine spirits now living in a safe, healthy, loving environment - BUT, our funds are greatly depleted. Please help us this holiday season so we are ready for the needs of 2019.
Let's meet some of this year's "1st's"....
Why this dog?? The first glance into his eyes was heart stopping! They brought the founding canine, our treasured DUKE, back into our hearts and reality. Just like Duke, we knew this was not a dog ready to give up on life. Although his caretakers felt they had no other options but to end his life, we knew euthanasia was not in his future and his will to live was strong because of the "lessons of Duke." He has a genuine canine angel watching out for him. 
This 8-month-old border Collie mix was living a great life in Texas, until that fateful day in June when his herding instincts kicked in and he propelled himself out of his person's jeep. Splaying his front legs to protect his fall caused severe damage to his front legs. From June to September, he did not receive required medical care. His person was hoping for a miracle - that he would use his 2 front legs again. That did not happen and the decision was made to euthanize him. Thankfully, we received a picture and an email about him. We could not ignore the wagging tail and high energy for life.
When we agreed to help him, we were under the impression his legs could be surgically repaired. When he arrived, we realized his injuries did not involve broken bones – he had severe irreversible nerve damage. He was in severe pain, with only a couple nerves remaining attached to his spine. He traveled 24 hours to us so NOW he was ours and we were determined to do what was best for him.  
Watching this amazing dog walk and play on his 2 back legs, with the 2 front legs dangling in front of him, we knew we were about to embark on some new territory. He was renamed Austin the Incredible, determined to chase the tennis ball at all costs. We met with 3 orthopedic specialists and weighed all our options. We all came to the conclusion that Austin needed a double front limb amputation and a front wheelchair. This is definitely new territory for us but, Austin is teaching us daily that nothing will stop him or get in the way of living his life to the fullest.
The amputations were successful and his custom wheels have arrived. He is now completely pain free and has shown us even more heart and courage during his recovery. He loves playing with toys, other dogs, loves the attention of people and his tail wags more than those of most dogs. He is adjusting to his wheels, and according to Roosevelt the Border Collie's fur mom, this process will take several months. She has been a fabulous resource to enlighten and educate us on a dog's life with a front wheeled cart.

Penny was a 2-year-old stray in our local shelter. She had a large painful and aggressive osteosarcoma on her left front leg. This medical issue prevented any other rescue from offering help. A 2-year-old with this form of cancer is rare and the prognosis is terminal... Why did we say "yes"? It's heartbreaking to think about such a young dog dying in the shelter without knowing what her past was. So many dogs in this country die that way. When we can prevent that fate for one of our local dogs, we make sure they can pass pain free and feeling completely loved.

Penny had her painful leg amputated and is living an active fun-filled life in her hospice home. She has become an ambassador for living life to the fullest, for as long as you can, greeting everyone with a wag and a smile on her daily "3 legged" walk around the neighborhood.
Penny - loving a pain free life on 3 legs!!
Gracie was relinquished to our local shelter at 6-months-old malnourished and with "balance issues." It was apparent she needed a neurological evaluation, resulting in an MRI of her brain. This is an expense hard for most rescues to take on - so, it was PWD or euthanasia. Look at that face!! How could we say "no"? The MRI revealed Gracie was born without  a corpus callosum, which connects the two hemispheres of the brain. The neurologist had never seen this before because most dogs would be put to sleep before seeing him. He is looking forward to staying involved in her development but could not tell us what her capacity for learning might be. We are so excited to report that she found a fabulous home. A patient couple, with a patient dog, is helping her step-by-step and she is doing great. She is exceeding all expectations. She will always live her own "normal," but shares her heart and joy for life while doing that.

The question we are continually asked.... "How can you justify spending so much money on ONE dog?" Our answer:

These dogs are a GIFT! We do NOT seek out extraordinary medical cases - they find us. EVERY dog we have ever helped has shown a higher purpose in its existence.

  1. They heal hearts in their families
  2. They are teaching everyone they meet (it could be 1000's of people)
  3. They are opening minds to something "different" yet good
  4. They are opening hearts to hope when it "looks" like there is none
  5. They offer their condition to educate our veterinarians (the Dr's are FORCED to see beyond the "physical" to the canine spirit)
  6. They are making people THINK!!

So much of our world revolves around instant gratification and our own understanding of perfection - these dogs are gifts to get us out of that world and back into our hearts. That gift becomes priceless.
Understanding FIV-positive cats
Many of our dogs will encounter feline family members in their new homes. We make every attempt to test the dogs and set appropriate expectations for the new family in many areas, but specifically if they can live in harmony with a cat. FIV cats are unnecessarily overlooked in shelters - like many dogs with disabilities. We have adopted several FABULOUS FIV cats over the past 15 years. Each have offered their services as "cat tester".

The facts and "un-truths" about living with FIV cats:
  1. FIV is not contagious to dogs or humans
  2. FIV is spread via a deep bite wound during a fight between cats. If the cat gets along with other cats - no fights - no concerns
  3. FIV cats live a normal length life, full of energy. They just need to be monitored for infections and dental issues. But if they’re well cared for, they can be healthy, happy, wonderful pets
  4. FIV cats need wonderful homes too! Do your research, have an open mind and heart and find a new family member at your local shelter.
Pets with Disabilities
635 Clay Hammond Rd - Prince Frederick, MD 20678