Meet Fleur! I am a gorgeous 8 year old dilute calico who was a stray in Virginia and lost my eyes to severe infection (similar to Bart!) as well as have no teeth (which only adds to my adorable, unique ability so “slurp” up wet food!) and I live with my mom (Maddie), and my three siblings — “Bun” (7 year old rabbit), “Nala” (2 year old dog) & Rihanna (12 year old human!). I found my forever home when my mom was looking for another addition to the family and found me via Facebook from a shelter around 90 minutes away from me — but the trip was worth it for both me and my mom & siblings!
My typical day begins around 5:30am when mom and Nala take me for a five mile walk! I love to go in my sling where I can smell the fresh air and feel the sun warm my face! Upon arriving back home we have a yummy breakfast and on the days mom has to work I keep the house in order and make sure my siblings are behaving! During the day I like to occupy my time by scratching on my scratch mat, making biscuits in my fluffy bed and jumping on (and lounging!) on the couch! Of course on the days mom does not work we spend the day together just quality time her and I (and my siblings!) and last weekend I got to go enjoy some pampering at the “salon”! I LOVE baths & grooming (who does not loved to get pampered!).
One of the many important points I try to make to other pet parents is that having “special needs” does NOT make me a “special needs cat”! Sure, I need my food wet and easily accessible but that is about it! I enjoy going outside but only under the close & direct supervision of my mom (which we would strongly suggest this for *ANY* animal!) but I do not require any special requirements or accommodations.
My mom has always loved specially-abled animals! Mom (Maddie) interned at an equine rescue and see’s the absolute beauty in *ALL* creatures! Mom has learned to let me figure things out (and sometimes this means even having an “oops” moment from time to time) but she does not feel sorry for me and treats me like one of the kids (with love, compassion & patience!). Every so often I may need a little assistance from my mom but that is rare! I can successfully find my litter box without issue and can easily find my way out of a corner without help! My mom said that I special & unique not because I am specially-abled but simply because I am ME!
My mom tells us always thatA pet with different abilities is no different than a fully abled pet. You must make “reasonable” accommodations for them: i.e. dietary and environmental changes. My dog has the best temperament so I feel safe keeping them together! Since Fleur has no teeth, I make sure her food is suitable for her needs.Never treat an animal differently!!!!!! Giving them the most spoiled and exciting life is so important!
Maxwell was surrendered to our house of misfit toys when the backyard breeder realized he was not going to “regain feeling” in his back legs (disclaimer: he never used his back legs). Maxwell was born with a condition called “Swimmers Syndrome” which is an uncommon developmental deformity of newborn puppies and kittens whereby the limbs– primarily the hind limbs are splayed laterally resulting in an inability to stand or walk). He is not in any discomfort or pain and the condition will not get worse (though with rigorous physical therapy, love, patience and we are doing acupuncture as an extra measure) and honestly it does not slow Maxwell down at all! He is an affectionate, ornery, playful little boy who craves attention from his friends and family and loves to get into stuff.
Maxwell was surrendered because he was considered “broken” and unable to sell but honestly in this situation their loss was our gain! We obtained such a sweet, full of zest little boy who is teaching us so much as well as helping us with our sorrow over losing Maggie Mae. Maxwell blessed our lives at the most perfect time — right when I vowed that I would never have another pug after Maggie Mae, Maxwell came into my clinic needing someone to love and understand him (as well as be patient and work with him) but I equally needed Maxwell in my life — to love & understand me.
Specially-Abled animals grace our lives for a plethora of reasons and sometimes those reasons are not so blatantly clear but it is not our job to understand it is just our jobs to give these babies every opportunity to thrive and to succeed as well as to be loved & protected.
Continue to check back for Maxwell updates and progress on his physical therapy and acupuncture!
Bart is a typical four year old little boy — he loves to play, snuggle and be all around ornery but he is considered “specially-abled”! Why you may ask? Bart is missing his left eye! As a kitten Bart had a vicious upper respiratory infection that went untreated (while he was a stray kitten) that unfortunately made his left eye rupture and his right eye become ulcerated (he can see but it is limited).
Besides Bart missing his left eye what other remnants stem from his early days of an untreated upper respiratory infection and feline herpesvirus? Nothing. From time to time he will be a “booger monster” and have a few crusties by his nostrils (and sometimes will sneeze) but aside from that he is completely and totally normal! Bart has to have no special accommodations for his “special ability” (other than the common courtesy of not re-arranging the furniture without consulting him first!) Sometimes (rarely) when Bart is rushing and in a hurry to get around he may accidentally run into something (or someone!) but it does not slow him down or hinder his ability to run, play and occasionally be a pest to his brothers!
Bart is apart of the group that is helping to bust down the stigma that surrounds specially-abled animals! We are honoring specially-abled animals on this special and imperative holiday (#Specially-AbledAnimalsDay)! We are stopping the stigma for the specially-abled! Help us by telling YOUR pet’s story of how they are specially-abled!
May 03, 2021 is “Specially-Abled Pet Awareness” Day! All day today we are posting our specially-abled friends (and if you are the parent to a specially-abled pet parent please submit their photo and brief write up and we will post it on our website and social media platforms! PresidentBifford@gmail.com)
If you would have approached me when I was 18 years old, fresh out of high school and trekking to college and informed me that in the year 2021 I would have a husband, a house, a career and have a small “herd” of specially-abled animals I probably would have scoffed and laughed at those insane statements (mainly the part where I got married!) but I would have never imagined the twists and turns that life would have gifted me but most of all I never would have imagined being “mom” to a rag-tag band of adorable “misfit toys” but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
I was unprepared for each of my specially-abled babies here but by serendipitous luck they all crashed into my world in their own amazing and unique way where initially I was afraid, worried that I would not be able to properly care for these “special” pets (as the word “special” was burned into my brain and regularly emphasized on) but the strangest thing happened … as time went on I focused *less* on their “special needs” and more on the fact that they had stolen my heart and I had fallen head over heels in love with each and every one of them. When I looked at them I did not see any special needs, I did not see anything “different” about them all I could see was their strength, their tenacity and optimism, I saw their love for me and for as much as I worried over them and my ability to care for them or understand them they loved me no matter what I did (mistakes or no mistakes!) and then I realized something extremely important…
All they needed was love and compassion with a dash of empathy and a willingness to learn. Their label of being “special needs” was not a reflection of their love, their personalities and the grasp they would have on my heart and soul.
I suppose though that none of this would actually come to a shock to those who know me know that nothing in my life is considered “normal” or standard” by any means and that is alright — what is that old saying? “Variety is the spice of life” and I have a variety of specially-abled pets that are all strong, resilient and fill my life and my heart with so much love!
If given the option ALWAYS take a chance on a specially-abled pet!