Special Needs Dog Saved from Kill Shelter…How Many More are Out There?

A cute picture on a pet adoption website can be a big help to motivate a potential adopter to come in to a shelter and look at a cat or dog to bring into their home. But what about the animals that don’t get a bath or a cute picture? What about the ones who need vet care for infected ears or eyes or have a cold? What about the senior pets? What about the ones who are deaf or blind? What kind of chance do these animals have to get adopted? Most people involved in animal rescue would tell you that the chances for these pets to leave a shelter and get adopted are very slim. That’s why there are so many rescue groups and individuals out there who will go into these shelters and save an animal that would otherwise be killed if they were left there. These dogs are then placed into forever homes, turning their life around and providing joy and companionship for the new owner.

Poor little Annabelle (Annie) was one of these dogs whose future looked bleak. Annie is a Cocker Spaniel who is about eight years old. She was sitting in a shelter, hopeless and miserable. She had severe ear infections and she is blind. Not exactly a dog that would be a popular candidate for adoption. Dumped at a shelter, what must have been going through her mind? Who would save her?
Lucky for Annie, Jan Wiltse, heard about her from other animal rescue friend. Jan is on the board of HOPE, an organization that helps people who need vet care and pet food for their animals while they try to get through financial hardships. She also volunteers with an animal rescue group called Handds as well as helping to pull animals out of some of the kill shelters in Northern Lower Michigan. She gives many poor souls a second chance at life.
When Jan found Annie, she was in need of immediate medical care. Her ears were so badly infected, she couldn’t hear as well as not being able to see. Jan took her into her home after an immediate visit to the veterinarian. Annie’s ears are being treated and the doctor said that Annie has cataracts and glaucoma and may need her eyes removed because her current condition is painful.
One of the other board members of HOPE suggested that they have a fundraiser for Annie’s surgery. That way, Annie’s current expenses will be taken care of so that a potential adopter wouldn’t have to pay for a huge bill right up front. It’s not a HOPE fundraiser, but something they can do to help Annie out and make her feel a lot better. They will keep us posted when the fundraiser is planned. You might even see Annie hanging around at some HOPE events as a reminder of the pets out there who might lose their homes or their lives because of their need for vet care.
Meanwhile, Jan says that Annie is like a new dog and is doing great in her home. Jan sees a great improvement in the dog’s attitude and health. She is very calm, friendly, quiet, and seems to like everyone!  She’s doing well navigating around her house and can go up the stairs into the kitchen. She even knows where her special pillow is and her favorite hobby is re-arranging the blanket that is on top of the pillow so it’s in the correct position. Jan is teaching her the word “careful” when Annie gets too close to something that she might bump into. And when Jan calls her from about 10 to 15 feet away, Annie will go to her without being scared. When I went to see her, Annie did not look timid about her blindness at all or afraid to do things.  At times, it’s easy to forget that Annie is blind.  She loves to go for short walks on a leash, finds her way to the water dish, navigates through the house, and trots over to see you when called.  My guess is that she’s been blind for a while and has learned how to adjust.
Annie is getting along well with Jan’s other four rescue dogs – Duncan (Australian Shepherd), Charlie (Poodle), Ellie (Beagle/Daschund and Diego (Chihuahua). And she smells and looks a lot better too thanks to Lea Kelly-Adams at the Long Lake Grooming Salon who gave Annie a makeover for free.


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