I Can’t Adopt a Special Needs Animal
Does this sound familiar? You’re thinking about adding a new furry to your family, maybe browsing through Facebook photos or Petfinder posts. You come across a cute little kitty and think, “Wow, maybe this one could be it!” But then your eyes find the phrase special needs, and your heart sinks. “I can’t take on a special needs animal,” you say to yourself.
While searching for a new addition to their family, many people are tempted by the little voice in your head that quickly says “No” a special needs animal. We’re here to help you press pause on that little voice and tell you why you CAN adopt a special needs animal, even if you think you can’t!
I don’t have enough money to commit to a special needs animal—they’re expensive!
Actually, many animals deemed “special needs” have needs that are quite inexpensive to manage. There are many that don’t actually require anything beyond a home and family willing to have an animal that’s a little different! Conditions such as deafness, blindness, minor neurological conditions, and missing limbs/limb deformities typically don’t have any more or less veterinary needs than any other “normal” animal. Even conditions like FIV, an immune disorder, are easily and inexpensively controlled by a yearly vet exam and vaccines and limiting your cat’s environment to indoor-only. Some special needs animals do require daily medication or more veterinary attention than others, so it’s important to consider your resources—but it’s also important to consider the individual needs of each animal instead of assuming that any deviation from “normal” has dollar signs attached.
I’m not capable of dealing with a special needs animal.
Thankfully, just because an animal has some unique needs doesn’t mean you have to be a vet or a trainer or a rocket scientist to take them home—awesome, right? Most special needs animals just need someone to love them for who they are, whether they’re missing limbs or eyes, walk a little funny, or need a little extra TLC. Even those requiring medication are pretty easy to manage, and most shelters (ACS included!) would love to work with you to make sure you feel totally prepared for life with your special new family member. Don’t count yourself out—we can provide you with all the information you need to succeed with a special needs animal!
Special needs animals don’t live as long.
Well, that depends on why they’re special needs. While it’s true that some conditions do limit the lifespan of an animal, many have little to no effect—urinary conditions, allergies, and even FIV have no effect on lifespan by themselves. We wouldn’t expect a human with only one eye to live a shorter life than normal, so why not a cat?
Additionally, and in my opinion more importantly, quality beats quantity any day. Even if the animal you are considering may have a shortened lifespan, does that mean he or she couldn’t enjoy the time they have left in the home you could make for them? Sometimes these animals have the greatest impact on our lives; something that’s a small thing to us—a warm place to belong—means the world to them. Even if we can’t provide crazy medical procedures and all we can do is love them and keep them comfortable, they are so grateful to us for that. If you can give an animal a quality year in a home, even if they only have a year, that time is incredibly precious.
Anyone can give a chance to a special needs animal—it just depends on the animal, the person, and the needs involved, just like making any other match with a new pet. Sure, some special needs animals aren’t going to be right for your household, but that doesn’t mean that none of them are. The next time you’re scrolling through those Facebook pictures and see that face that makes your heart melt, don’t be put off by an unusual condition. Ask some questions, learn about the individual needs and responsibilities for this animal. Our differences are what make us special, and we guarantee that our special furry friends will enrich your life in ways you couldn’t imagine!
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