Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Damaged Goods

By Mark W. Danielson

Clearly, the dog in the above photo has issues. If this vet was to shine his light through the dog’s ear, the beam would probably hit the wall, too. Unfortunately, “damaged” animals like this one are often tossed aside, and even though they are otherwise healthy, their impaired condition makes adoptions difficult. Only the lucky few will find homes.

Recently, a “special needs” woman received an award for adopting “special needs” cats. Bear in mind that this woman has severe cerebral palsy, and though her body will no longer cooperate, her mind still functions well. Recognizing that she and these cats share a physical connection, she has chosen to take the cats that no one else wants As a result, five of these special cats will get to live out their lives in the secure environment with the assistance of caretakers.
My daughter also took in a “damaged goods” animal. (photo above) It seemed no one wanted the cross-eyed lab mix, but she has been a superb companion. She was named Minnie after the mouse, not her size. Minnie’s imperfection has never bothered her or my daughter, though. She can pin my little pooch whenever they play out back, and has no problem with depth perception. There is no question that my daughter and Minnie have both benefited from their partnership.

My neighbor’s yellow lab puppy was “perfect” when they got her, but then she was bit in the eye while exploring grandma’s barn where her large black lab was eating. When the puppy came too close, the lab snapped at her. It was a hard lesson because the puppy lost vision in that eye, but she is fine and still has a good home. It is remarkable how she thinks nothing of this disability. Her brain compensates and she has no problems jumping in and out of a Suburban.

Another neighbor adopted a young cattle dog that no one wanted, even though she has no physical flaws. Gracie spent many months in a couple of shelters until she was picked up by an adoption agency who ultimately found her a home. This beautiful dog has made a perfect companion for my neighbor. I have no idea why she was so hard to adopt, but at only two years old, she has a full life ahead of her.

There are countless stories about animals that have recovered from accidents or were born with birth defects. Three-legged or one-eyed animals are not uncommon. These creatures are inspiring because they adapt so well. They don’t stress over the bad things that happened. Instead, they look forward to each day with bounding enthusiasm and unconditional love. Since these animals can’t speak for themselves, I figured I’d put in a plug for them. They make great additions to your house while inspiring characters for your stories.

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