'Handicapped' doesn't mean Incapable'!
If you've ever lived with a human with a disability, you know what I'm talking about when I say that 'being handicapped' doesn't have to mean 'being incapable'.
We happen to have a certain cousin/friend from Ohio who falls (no pun intended) into that category. Her real name is Christy, but we understandably call her 'Hands'. Well, Hands has some back problems, which have resulted in her using a cane. She might walk a tad slower than her cousin (our Pet) Karen, but she's quick with the wit and manages rather well avoiding collision with us! She probably wouldn't give up that cane of hers if she was 'healed' tomorrow since it's an Irish Blackthorn Stick!
As the Irish say, 'she's in good condition for the condition she's in'.
Here's my point - because she's got a little thing called 'a disability', that doesn't stop her from LIVING and enjoying it! And, like her, we blind and/or deaf pups have our own little ‘disabilities’, which don't prevent us from loving life either.
Let's face it...nobody's perfect!
It's just a little more obvious in some than others - that’s all.
Having something of a 'disability' doesn't mean that you can't function in the every day world. And it doesn't mean that your contributions to that world are any less important or meaningful. WE might not be able to SEE, but we sure can SMELL...with our noses, I mean. Christy might not be able to RUN, but she can type...thank heavens. Don't ever let anyone or any dog ever tell YOU that you're worth less just because you can't do as much! Anyone tells you that - they're WRONG, and I'm going to give you plenty of reasons just WHY they're wrong!
Dottie the Doozie
We know a dog who can see just fine, can hear a tick snore on a cat's back, and can bark with the best of us. Her problem? She has three normal legs and one that looks like it's on backwards! Well she doesn't know that she's not 'perfect'. She's never had four legs headed in the same direction, so she doesn't mind the screwy one at all! Now I can't imagine not having four good legs and keeping my balance, but Dottie has no problem running to meet her humans as they return from a day at their job. She doesn't have a problem running after the grandkids in the house OR the yard! She has absolutely NO trouble crowding her siblings at dinner time. And she has no problem at all pushing to the front of the line for the treats, petting, or rides in the car!
Dottie's only one case.
Lassie the Blind Dog
Some of you might be familiar with "Lassie", the old TV show starring a beautiful MALE collie! (Don't ask...that's humans for ya.) Well, we recently met another Lassie who is blind - just like us. Lassie's pet visited our site and left a message in our Guest Book...no bone though. It was clear by the comments left that Lassie has raised her human right. And it's really obvious just how much her human loves her - with her little 'disability' and all.
Chance the Dalmatian
We had a cousin - a Dalmatian named Chance. Now Chance used to enjoy 'the hunt' something terrible! He'd chase birds from out of every bush around his yard. I couldn't tell if he HATED birds or LOVED them!
He once was big and strong and muscular! He had the stamina it takes to run a marathon. His energy level decreased over the years, as did his mobility and agility. Still one handsome lad, Chance had to slow things down a tad bit during his last few years. Yep - he was aging, which brought about one terrible case of arthritis. That kept him down more than up, it seemed.
Through it all though, Chance never lost his love of a great bird-chase! Oh - you could easily tell too, according to Hands. She says it was written all over his face! (Exactly why humans would write all over ANYONE's face is beyond me - but that's the story I got!) His eyes brightened up at the very notion of that chase!
And as if a good chase wasn't enough - when his pet Tom headed for the barn (where birds and rats are plentiful), life got even better! Tom led and Chance was right behind him! From what we've heard,
Chance ended up being on all sorts of medications for relief of pain associated with arthritis, which seemed to take the edge off. He never complained though, as he kept facing life with an abundance of courage and determination. He'd moan some here and there - especially when he was getting up to walk around. The winters were nasty for him - arthritis HATES wintry weather according to Hands. But Chance held his own.
He coached his daughter Felicity on the art of 'flushing out' those pesky birds. He'd watch her with the pride only known by a father! You'd catch that smile on his face as he was probably remembering his own earlier days when he was a 'jock' about the farm. He was a testament of strength and of life!
And, oh I guess I forgot to mention this little fact....Chance was also deaf.
In order to keep Chance out of trouble (and out of the trash can), his humans let him wear a Vibe Collar which sends Chance a little 'message' when he's within range of a sensor. When Hands was visiting Chance one the weekend, she found that by simply placing a white flag into a can on the floor (and without even turning on the sensor), Chance would stay clear of the 'forbidden fruit'!
And people say 'old dogs can't learn new tricks'!
Sadly, Chance is now gone.
I've no doubt that he's chasing a hundred birds a day over there - across the bridge. Some day I'll meet him.
I look forward to that day!
UPDATE: These past few months hadn't been good to Chance - even worse than before! His humans, for a long, LONG time!
Simon the Dachshund
One Wednesday, Simon went to visit a classroom of disabled children in an intermediate school. He just wheeled his way around the school and the classroom. It was amazing! The kids couldn't get enough of him.
There were 8 kids in the class, and two of them in wheelchairs. Simon knows a thing or two about wheelchairs.
"For Christmas, I got a wheelchair from Eddie's Wheelchairs."
(Simon is pictured on the right enjoying himself - thanks to his 'freedom rider'!)
Other kids had various disabilities. Simon stayed for about 40 minutes and the kids asked questions non-stop. Simon's pet Marni gave their teacher some materials from Dodgers List so they could learn more about disabled dachshunds. On his way out, he was captured by another class of kids and spent another 15 minutes or so with them.
A good experience all around!
"I received a bunch of letters from the kids at the intermediate school I visited. They were really cool. I'm invited to make a return appearance in March and I'm looking forward to seeing those kids again."
Because of the delay on route, Simon ended up accompanying Marni to yoga class. He did okay there too. Marni had to hold him quite a bit to keep him from barking since he'd never been to yoga before. He liked the quiet, the gentle music, the calm atmosphere and the ladies very much. "After going to yoga class, I was invited to be part of the MS Walk, which will take place on March 2nd", said Simon. "I think I'll be working the kids’ registration table. We'll have a good time."
MS is of special interest to Simon. "Marni has MS", he told me. "She's had it for 20 years, so she knows how important physical therapy is for me. I had a herniated lumbar disc on August 14th, and had surgery on the next day. I've been paralyzed since then, but who knows... I may walk any day now...or not."
Simon keeps his spirits up as best he can and takes his therapy very seriously.
"I have hydrotherapy, passive physical therapy, and massage therapy everyday. Marni takes good care of me!" Simon has lived with Marni for several years now. But Marni wasn't Simon's original 'mom'. "When I was 7 weeks old, my Mom was injured and couldn't take care of me. So Marni took me home with her and we've been together ever since.
That was 1986, and I weighed 20 ounces!" "Since that time, I've lived in Ohio, and now in Utah with Marni and her husband Charles, my sister Emily (a 14 year old dachshund), and my brother Ches (a 14 year old Vizsla). Emily had a disc problem before I was born and she had surgery and walks just great."
Getting his wheelchair seems to have really changed Simon's social life! "I get out more and more now. Who knows - maybe his next stop will be T'ai Chi!"
Cheyenne, Dakota and Cocoa
Recently, we heard from a family of three 'whites' who were all adopted by some marvelous humans by the name of Mark & Louanna. The three lucky pups are Cheyenne, Dakota, and Cocoa and here's their story.... It all started on October 16th, 2003 in Apache Junction, Arizona. Eight beautiful Australian Shepherds entered this world, but only four were going to be allowed to live. The breeder called the Vet the following day wishing to have 4 pups admitted for tail dockings and 4 pups euthanized - or killed. As luck and fate would have it, the vet was on vacation at the time of the call. And this was only the beginning of 'luck' for these pups! Three of the pups, Cheyenne, Dakota and Cocoa, were among the four the breeder wanted killed. Instead, they ended up enjoying life surrounded by love and compassion thanks to their very special humans - Mark and Louanna. Their story is a wonderful example of how love conquores all - and MUST be read! Here's some links to their stories and to the Magical World they have bestowed upon two loving 'parent's.
Visit these URLs and read for yourself how luck and fate has provided these pups with a lastsing love!
Oh - and while you're at it - keep in mind that professional breeders KNOW the risks of breeding Merle to Merle - and they know that at least 25% (or one fourth) of the litter will be 'whites'.
Still they risk the births of puppies that they themselves will either kill or have killed by their vets.
Such practices are as irresponsible as they are inhumane and need to be stopped as soon as possible.
Through this site and the many other sites out there that take the time to explain the deadly situation that far too many puppies find themselves in due to this breeding, hopefully humans everywhere will learn enough and care enough to create lasting change.
People like Mark and Louanna and Marni and Tom and Annetta and our own Karen...groups like AussieLads and Lethal White Aussie Rescue and Blind Dogs and Handicapped Pets and the like are fighting every day to save lives that are otherwise lost.
Learn more about this genetic defect and about what you can do to prevent it as you protect the lives of those who are innocently born into this life with the consequences.
That's the moral of these stories...Learning + Loving = Life! ~
Yes, you'll find some of us have worse problems than others. But hey, that's true of humans as well. Hands has a friend who has lost both legs, and she says Deb is as full a person as ever - without the trouble of being fitted for shoes!
The phrase 'nobody's perfect' might have lost something with over-use, but it's true nonetheless.
Well...except for every once in a great while - it's true.
And then, on the other hand...there's me - Gabriel - who is just about as perfect as any pup can come - if I do say so myself!
You only THINK we're not listening. WE CAN'T HEAR!
Deaf as a.....DEAF PUP, ya say?
by gabriel anderson
It's hard to believe that DEAFNESS can be connected to the color of skin, but it's true!
Well...in a way.
Pigment is what gives us skin color and hair color - or 'pigmentation'. Even animals with white hair have pigmented skin. Gabriel and I knew a white German Shepherd named Sadie who is a beautiful example of a white animal with 'pigmented skin'. She had a black nose, black rims around her eyes and black around her lips.
Every once in a while you might see a white animal though with pink noses, pink around the eyes and pink around their lips. No matter what kind of animal it is...dog, cat or horse...these white animals have non-pigmented skin which makes their skin is colorless.
While we're talking about skin color, let's see if you know the answer to this question: Are Dalmatians White with Black Spots...or Black with White Spots?
If you think the white color is the real color of their coat, you'd be WRONG!
Our cousin Chance always got the biggest kick out of baiting people into this question!
The Dalmatian actually has a black coat with white 'trim'!
Hands asked Chance herself - and he's a Dalmatian so he ought to know!
I find that very few humans know this - but then again humans aren't always the smartest animals!
There's a reason for the white trim on the Dalmatian and why the white looks like spots (besides to confuse humans). The skin under the white hair is non-pigmented or pink. Pink skin will only allow white hair to grow...on the four-legged animals, anyway.
So now you know why skin color and deafness are connected!
What? You DON'T know?
Oh yeah - I guess I never did get around to explaining, did I!
Well, read on!
Here's where the deafness comes into play...
Way down deep inside the inner ear, there are tiny hairs that help trap dirt and dust, (which could damage the ear).
When a puppy is born and there is pigment in those tiny hairs, there isn't a problem.
But when one is born and those tiny hairs DON'T have pigment, that's a different story!
Have your humans ever hurt their backs and had to be put on 'bed rest' for a few days or weeks? (You know they can be pretty careless sometimes.)
If they were on 'bed rest' for just three days, their muscles in their legs started to soften up and weaken. The longer the bed rest...the weaker the legs.
What's this got to do with ears and deafness?
Well, imagine for a moment that your human didn't get out of bed for three years! Chances are real good that their muscles would be pretty useless. Nerves and muscles that aren't used end up shrinking away.
That's the 'use it or loose it' law of averages!
Now, back to the ears...
Nerve endings stimulate the muscles of a healthy ear and allow for that whole 'hearing process' to take place. Here's the strange thing though - if those tiny little hairs way down deep inside the inner ear don't have any pigment - the entire process comes to an abrupt end! Those nerve endings that stimulate the muscles can't work.
It's like they're on 'bed rest'.
Since the nerve endings aren't working, the muscles can't work.
And we already know that muscles that aren't working start to shrink.
Doctors call that shrinkage thing 'atrophy', and continued atrophy will basically kill the muscles. It takes only a few weeks before there is total deafness.
Now keep in mind that just because an ear is white doesn't mean there's anything wrong with it.
And just because the ear may be dark, doesn't mean the animal isn't deaf.
The only hairs that matter here are those way deep down inside the ear canal, and you can't see them just by looking at a dog.
When the deafness is in both ears, that's called a Bi-lateral Deafness.
I was born with non-pigmented hairs in both my ear canals, and that's why I'm deaf in both ears today. I've never heard a single sound EVER!
When a puppy is deaf, it takes some observation for humans to realize it, and it's important they know what to look for. Maybe a puppy seems overly aggressive. Or maybe his or her sleep isn't the least bit affected by noise.
That's a pretty good indicator!
If you're deaf in one ear, but can hear out of the other one, you've got what they call a 'Unilateral Deafness'.
There can be countless reasons for deafness - bilateral or unilateral - but genetic problems seem to be the biggest reason yet.
You should have your human take you to your Vet and get examined if you think your hearing is weak or seems to be getting weak.
There could be a simple reason that can be easily helped.
But if you do end up losing your hearing one of these days, you'll still enjoy your life.
Look at me! I LOVE life!
I guess it's easier if you've never heard noise before. Once you've had something, it's tough to do without it, isn't it!
If you find yourself going deaf - I suppose now and then you'll try and see if you can hear something - ANYthing. You'll probably always want to hear that 'one more noise', but once you accept deafness, you'll learn to relocate your happiness in life.
You'll be out there letting the world know you're the same dog you used to be before you lost your hearing. You'll let the rest of the world know that you - like Allicks and me - can still chase CATs - still sniff out treats - still be just as beautiful and handsome as any other dog on four paws!
And there's that delightful blessing that comes with deafness:
You'll get a good night's sleep!
And that can't be all bad!
How can a Deaf Dog learn?
WHAT can a Deaf Dog learn?
It all comes down to some communication skills.
Don't worry - you can teach these skills to most any human!
Check out these sites - or have YOUR Hands do the checking for you!
HOW WE TEACH YOUR HUMAN TO COMMUNICATE
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR HUMAN TO TALK
Be prepared to be patient! Some humans are a little quicker than others, so don't over-burden them with details. They're usually pretty happy with themselves after learning the slightest new trick - and that's reward enough!
To learn more about Deaf Dogs and what we're capable of doing - you might want to read the article at this site below. You'll be surprised at the number of humans who think we're not as smart as those dogs who can hear! You'll learn everything people should NEVER believe about us!
The DDEAF (Deaf Dog Education Action Fund) offers lots of information regarding Training, Books, Websites and devices such as the Vibrating Collars. http://www.deafdogs.org/resources/books/bdeaf.php
Be sure to send Allicks and me an email telling us how YOUR human performed!
Remember - we can't see our paw in front of our noses!
For a blind pup, getting around a room filled with people and furniture can be a bit of a challenge at times.
Especially when someone keeps moving or moving the furniture!
Our solution to blindness is 'mapping the area'.
We walk all around the room - heck - the entire house and we explore all the possible routes through each and every room.
And then - neat part: WE REMEMBER IT FOREVER!
Now and then though, a pup might have some trouble with the 'mapping process'.
For them, there's other options that might save them some bumps and bruises, and and of those options is The Hoop Harness. Made especially for Blind Dogs, this harness can be purchased or made at home (if you happen to own a handy human).
Another wonderful invention that comes in pretty handy for us blind pups is the DOGGLE, which not only protect our eyes from puncture wounds and bruising, but you've gotta admit look pretty snazzy! Just look at Samantha and you'll have to agree that she looks just about as cool as a pup can look!
See PetFinder.Com for details regarding the Hoop Harness, the Doggles and the Wheeled Carts!
Put your paw down and let your human know that you too want to look your best when you go out in the world!
If you'd like to learn more about the blindness of a white aussie - visit this URL and see some pics of eye defects in an 'up close and personal' way!
I wouldn't suggest doing it on a full tummy though - I 'hear' some of the pictures are graphic! Suit yourself but don't say I didn't warn ya!
A girl who saw through the blindness...of a horse
As 'handicapped pets', we're a little sensitive about ’disabilities’ - with one, two, three, and four leggers!
Since we believe that ALL life is created by the Same Kind Hand, LIFE shouldn’t be thought any less of just because of a 'handicap' or some simple 'inconvenience'.
To feel otherwise, we think, is just plain CRAZY!
(And it isn't very nice either.)
We'd like to think that maybe we can help other animals - whatever the leg-count may be!
So we're going to share some stories of other animals who, through superb love and dedication to their humans, bring a Magic to LIFE; a Magic no one can deny!
This particular Magical World is one belonging to a HORSE!
This little filly (female horse that has never given birth) was destined for death until saved by a gal who saw LIFE as a precious gift.
It's an exciting story and one sure to touch your heart.
Remember this tale...and ours too...when you hear someone insist that - for ANIMALS - being blind or deaf means life isn't worth living. Inform these 'ignorant and uninformed' that it matters not if they're talking about a 1 pound cat, a 70 pound dog, or a 1.000 pound horse - life is ALWAYS worthwhile...just as it is for the HUMAN!
There are myths that seem to discourage humans from giving us that chance to live. Here are some myths regarding blind horses:
~a blind horse can't have a good quality of life~
~a blind horse is dangerous~
~you can't put a blind horse out to pasture~
How cold and harsh these myths are!
Usually, they're started by people who have never been close enough to so much as TOUCH a handicapped animal!
We want to dispel these myths which end up costing LIFE every single day, so pass on what you learn here.
You can make a difference...one human at a time!
FOR MORE MYTHS SURROUNDING BLIND HORSES, AND FOR THE STORY OF THE FILLY WHO WAS GIVEN A CHANCE TO LIFE - CLICK ONTO THIS URL: http://www.rollingdogranch.org/about/clearer_
Some Websites You Might Want to Send Your Humans To....
Since some of your humans might be new pets to handicapped animals, you might want to direct them to places where they can find answers to their questions.
Our personal favorite has got to be http://handicappedpets.com !
These humans KNOW THEIR STUFF! They discuss all sorts of things from missing teeth, missing limbs, missing sight, and hearing. For each post, there's probably a half dozen or more responses, so everyone weighs in with their own experiences, shedding light at the end of that proverbial tunnel for many.
Other sites we frequent are full of helpful hints also.
Visit PetFinder's site at http://www.petfinder.com and you'll find lots of news on state-of-the-art contraptions that make life simpler and easier for just about any problem you may have!From Carts to Carriers....Braces to Booties...Halos to...well you get the point; they've used it all and will tell you where to get yours. There are all sorts of articles regarding adoptions and fostering of pets with certain handicaps. For those of you who can see, you can check out the latest styles and colors of 'wheel-chairs' for dogs, cats and even birds if you look long and hard enough! As a matter of fact, if you know any pet that is handicapped, they've got the goods that will help. (Unless you have a crippled fish. I don't think there's anything like a prosthetic fin...even at Pet Finder.Com!)Blind Dogs Group, another one of OUR favorites is made up of humans who share their lives with Blind Dogs....hence the name!
You can log onto Blind Dogs and pick up on a tremendous amount of tips valuable to dogs like me and Allicks.
Tell your humans to join this group by going to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/blinddogs/ and they can share their own stories with people who fully understand the value of dogs with diminished sight or no sight at all.
My Nana Ambrr tells me that I should also list a really good site for those strange individuals who call themselves "CAT LOVERS''. And since I'm a dog who does as he's told....begrudgingly at times....I will tell you about a great human who has done a world of good for cats: Maureen Dell'Olio, owner and creator of Our Lady of Mercy's Catnip Cottage! Our Lady of Mercy's Catnip Cottage is a non-profit, all-foster-home cat rescue, rehabilitation and adoption organization operating on Christian values, incorporated on April 7th, 2003.
On June 15th, 2005 Maureen opened a new addition to the Catnip Cottage: Andy's Sanctuary - providing a safe in-house area for cats to enjoy life at their leisure, while also providing visiting humans to enjoy interactions with the cats in comfort.
Andy's Sanctuary is extremely special to all of us here in Crittersville since Andy is our brother and the son of our Momma Karen. Andy wasn't only involved in rescue groups and operations, but had always had a supreme love for animals...mice, snakes, reptiles - you name it...even cats! He was a life to behold! And we miss him terribly.
We lost Andy on November 5th, 2005.
Throughout his 24 years on earth, Andy contributed much to the lives of countless animals. He's a serious force behind many of the causes we support. We'll love him forever and miss him completely and always. He is the voice of true compassion! And we're all pleased that Andy lives on through such efforts as Maureen's tribute sanctuary named in his memory.
For more information on Andy's Sanctuary and on Our Lady of Mercy's Catnip Cottage, visit Maureen's link through PetFinder.Com: http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/catnipcottage.html
For other CAT sites, you can visit http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Pointe/9352/alphalinks.html because you'll find all sorts of stuff here! Neat stuff - even it it's about THOSE ANIMALS WE CALL THOSE DARNED CATS! But there's stuff on Blind Cats, Old Cats, Bored Cats and just plain MIS-BEHAVIN Cats (my favorite section)!
Here's some additional CAT sites! (Ambrr, are ya happy now?)http://www.specialneedspets.org/cats.htm
Well, here's but the beginning to sites that will improve the life and happiness of both human and animal. There's a lot more sites, I know, but we'll start with these and move slowly so the humans can keep up. Send your humans the message to visit these sites.
They will find that the folks who frequently post on these sites are extremely dedicated and compassionate people who truly LIVE their mantra to help animals enjoy complete and happy lives in spite of whatever 'handicap' we might have.
You and I know that humans are eager to please. So give them the tools they need in order to evolve into the humans they are meant to be. They'll jump at the chance to learn more. You know how they are. Anything for that little pat on the head sends them into their happy world!
Humans: Yep - Gotta love em!
Gabriel Anderson reporting from Crittersville, SC
Andy's Family Memorial Site http://www.andrewkeithanderson.tvheaven.com
Many times people ask what they can do to help handicapped pets.
Here's some suggestions of things humans have done - and ARE doing.
Read this article and watch the video on the news page and you'll see one fabulous idea of how KIDS can and HAVE helped handicappers!
This is one of my FAVORITE stories.
Because it's STILL HAPPENING!