Pet Adoption Story: Super Scooty, My Handicapped Dog
Super Scooty is my handicapped dog. In 2012, I was living in San Diego in a 2 story condo that didn’t allow dogs. I had no desire to get a dog at the time because my current girlfriend had her own handful of a monster dog who I loved. I stumbled onto a plea for help from a local rescue, Baja Dog rescue, who had just saved 80+ dogs from a horrible hoarding situation. Scooty was one of the worst cases and was one of the last to be adopted. She had been in their shelter for months now. I thought she was the most angelic looking creature I ever saw. She had been hit by a car, hips crushed, broken back, broken ribs, some of her skin was worn off down to her bones and also barely survived distemper with some permanent twitching. I knew she needed a loving warm home, not a large shelter with open yard, and barrels to sleep in. I needed her and she needed me. I brought her home the next day, on leap day Feb 29. We used a towel to help her walk the first couple of days, but immediately overnighted her a wheelchair from Walkin Wheels. I was told a lot of dogs take time adjusting to their wheels, not Scooty, as soon as I strapped her in, it was if those wheels were exactly what she was waiting for all this time and she took off running with the biggest smile on her face. The first smile I saw from her.
Click below to watch Scooty go!
The rehabilitation process was long, I cried a lot, I thought I couldn’t do it many times. People don’t realize that most handicapped dogs who suffer a spinal cord injury can’t control their bladder or bowels. It all literally just falls out whether they are sleeping, moving, sitting on you, in the car, standing still etc. That was by far the hardest obstacle. Also, being on a new diet, the stress of being in a strange environment, all made her tummy so upset and irregular. No vet had any idea how to help, no one had suggestions or tips or tricks. This was way before Instagram and no one I ever knew or heard of had a handicapped dog! Scooty was getting UTI’s often until I learned to expel her bladder by hand every single time we went out. After visiting my 4th vet, she suggested Pro-biotics, again, way before anyone even knew of probiotics. I went back in and gave her the biggest hug of my life, they literally changed our daily life and stress. Scooty to this day gets regular probiotics. She started gaining her mobility about 3-4 months in. I would notice she would start trying to stand, and would take a step and fall over. Slowly it got better, we got her into acupuncture and laser therapy and eventually hydrotherapy with balancing exercises. Within 6-10 months she was “walking” short spurts, while still falling over, but within a year she started going for walks without her wheelchair and in 2 years she ran without assistance, not gracefully, and it always ended in a crash, but it was still beautiful to see.
Click to watch Scooty’s water therapy video.
Seeing Scooty’s progress and going through all the ups and downs has made me much more compassionate, and gave me unconditional patience of gold. She is so freaking happy. How could anyone be upset over something she can’t help? We made a joke one day that the car must have bumped her in the head because she appears to be in a permanent state of pure bliss. It wasn’t always that way. At first she wanted nothing to do with me and was super shy and reserved. A few weeks in she started really coming out of her shell. I just hope, if anything ever happens to me, I could have half of her perseverance and joy in life. I love getting all the messages from people from all around the world who tell us how much Scooty inspires them and how she has really changed their outlook. We have followers with PTSD, depression, mental disabilities, physical disabilities whether they are born with it or who has suffered from an accident. They all love seeing Scooty’s smile and all her endless adventures and they tell us how much it means to them. She came from the darkest of starts and yet she is literally the happiest dog on the planet, she even won Solid Gold Foods “Happiest Pet on the Planet” award in a contest last year! She is just an amazing energy to be around and I love that her energy can even transcend through her pictures.
My goal ultimately for sharing Scooty is to show people that a disability does not mean its the end of life. It doesn’t mean they wont have a good quality of life anymore. There is so much support and so many options out there now that these animals and even humans can live active, happy, full lives. I hope that we can save even 1 dog’s life who may have been put down because they can’t walk after an accident, I hope that someone thinks of Scooty and knows that his or her injury is not a death sentence and that both the owner and the pet can be happy. I hope that someone goes to a shelter instead of a pet shop and finds the sad withdrawn dog and give them a chance to flourish because that dog doesn’t know what they’ve done wrong to be in such a loud and scary place that is full of fear and aggression, or that a handicapped dog gets adopted from a shelter instead of immediately put down.
My advice: Patience, lots of paper towels and 409. Order sports wrap in bulk to protect from dragging and PROBIOTICS! Learn to expel their bladder. I can show you how to make a practically free and highly versatile harness for quick walks. The handicapped pets on social media all have WONDERFUL supportive owners who will be so happy to help answer any and all questions and listen to you vent about awkward poop messes, so reach out! They are a huge help and great support group.
Most importantly, a disability is just another quirk that us humans learn over time to adjust to; it eventually becomes second nature. Just like those dogs who can’t be trusted home alone, who chews things up, who have anxiety, who are dog or cat reactive, who are escape artists, who are terrible walker etc etc etc these are all quirks that we learn to adjust to and modify our lives around for them. A handicapped dog is not for everyone, but they are worth it and deserve it.
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