By Arden Townsend
Daisy Grace and Precious Townsend’s Mommy
I got into thinking because I have been told by people I know who are dog lovers that they are surprised I kept Precious, who is our seizure dog, and did not return her to the shelter when she started having seizures. My response was simple- she had become a member of our family. I really have a hard time understanding how people can take a dog that develops a health problem and just drop them off at a shelter. I feel that once you adopt an animal then you should care for that animal. I have a friend of mine, Max from PA who summed it up my feelings very well: some people treat dogs as though they are disposable.
Has our society been brought up to think that everything including relationships is disposable? If things get tough instead of working out the problem and coping with it- just throw it away. Sadly, I think that you see many people doing that.
Last fall I was outside in the yard with Daisy Grace and Precious. It was about 20 minutes until 7pm. All the sudden it dawned on me that I had not given Precious her medication yet. Normally she gets it right after Kevin gets home. Well today he is on a field trip with some solders. He left the house about 5am this morning and wouldn’t be back until 10pm or later.
When it dawned on me I called out, “come on girls. It’s time to go in and give Precious her medicine.” Both Daisy and Precious took off toward the door. Well some guy was walking down the road heading toward town.
He stopped in our front yard, and called out, “Oh, why does your dog take medicine.”
I stopped walking toward the house and turned to him. Daisy started barking and growling at him. Precious started her woo-wooing and I told them both NO BARK. They both stopped right then. I then explained about Precious’s seizure and her medication.
The guy had the nerve to say, “Well dogs with those types of illnesses should just be put down and it’s cruel of you to keep her alive.”
I went off, “How dare you say that to me. Get off my property and don’t come back. Precious is the sweetest and most loving dog I have ever met, and she has more compassion that you seem to have in that tiny brain of yours.” Daisy and Precious both then went off with their barking and growling. The man turned and continued walking back down the road. I guess he figure he had said what he felt he needed to say and caused quite a ruckus.
We just happened to be at the clinic when 2 different families came in. They signed the surrender papers and gave them to the vet.
One was just an 11 month old puppy who was diagnosed with hip dysplasia, and that owner said they wanted a female dog they could breed with their male dog, and one with hip dysplasia could not be bred. She had a young boy with her about 10 and he had tears rolling down his eyes as he said goodbye. In this case it might be better because of the pawrents, but we did feel bad for the young boy who you could tell loved this dog.
The second one that was surrendered to them was a dog who was almost 5 years old who was going to have to have one of his legs amputated. This owner said they could not afford the surgery because their pet insurance denied the claim, so they had no choice. This mom was crying as she said goodbye. The vet’s wife was also in tears and even tried to show her sites where she could apply for grants to get help paying the cost, but the owner said, ‘NO, because it was not a guarantee they would cover it.” She admitted she was angry over the pet insurance denial of the claim but did not have the energy to keep fighting it.
Then a friend went to an adoption event with mom for Bobbi and the Strays. A pregnant young mom was surrendering a Scottie puppy because it made her nauseous to pick up; another couple surrendered a 10-year old large mixed breed because they were moving.
The last two dogs I mentioned were not even special needs dogs, but they were being surrendered anyways. What if their human child who had a sickness that the insurance didn’t cover? Would they turn him/her in for rehoming too?
Honestly to adopt a dog with special needs would depend on the needs. I know we would never adopt a large dog with special needs. I am not even sure I would adopt a healthy large dog. When we were looking for dogs we saw alot of large puppies and dogs. I was at that time just learning to walk, and did not think I could handle a large dog let alone a special needs large dog. I think I would be hesitant at this time to get a special needs dog that was paralyzed or had problems getting around. It would be because we live in a 2 story house and I would be nervous about our steps. There are some days I have trouble getting up and moving around, so am not sure I could handle helping a dog move around. If the dog was blind or deaf I feel I could live with that, but would have to take specialize training with that special needs.
Honestly if we had been told that Precious was a seizure dog before we got her- I am not sure we would adopted her if we had known ahead of time, and our life would of been poorer without her in it. Many of you have seen us in tears over her seizures. Many of you have seen her have a seizure and it scared you when it happened. We know having a seizure dog is not easy even when you have them somewhat under control like we do. We do pay for the medications each month and are able to afford her care.
We do not treat Precious as though she is a disposable dog- she is a member of the family.
Below is a chart that I did that shows answers to adopting a special needs dog. I got 189 responses, but not areas did they answer to, so I just filled in what they replied.
Chart of gathered information December 12 to January 25, 2011 from various dog sites on the internet