More recently, I have taken a liking to help deformed/disabled "special needs" animals. I suppose it all started when my husband and I adopted Penny, our tripod Chiweenie. At first, I was a bit put off by her deformed front paw. I did not think that Penny was ugly; I was simply uncomfortable at seeing something so different. But something in my heart kept telling me that we were the only ones that could give Penny the loving home she so rightfully deserved.
Meeting Penny in person was all that it took. Watching her hop around while wagging her tail brought joy to my soul. After just two months, we stopped viewing Penny as "special needs" because she can do everything that her four-legged fur siblings can. And then there is the amazing pet gate jumping video.
If you haven't seen it yet, check it out here:
My husband uncovered one my deep hidden secrets: I love dachshunds! I had always wanted one and felt that the time was right to adopt one in March of this year. That is when I discovered Hope. She is a gorgeous double dapple doxie that was born without eyes and is completely deaf. And she just happened to be the product of a backyard breeder.
While working with Hope has been challenging, it has also been greatly rewarding. She can now navigate through the house without bumping into walls, climb up the basement stairs and even open the closet door with her nose! I can certainly see why they call special needs dogs "special."
On one of my dog video searches on YouTube, I came across National Mill Dog Rescue. They are a rescue group whose sole mission is to help end puppy mills all across the United States. Their mascot is an adorable Chihuahua named Teddy. He is a puppy mill survivor that was extremely malnourished, had eye ulcers and rotting teeth.
Thankfully, he was rescued by National Mill Dog Rescue and has since been adopted into a loving home. Teddy is now trying to help spread the word about the importance of ending the horrible practice of puppy mills. I noticed a post from Teddy in my Facebook feed on Tuesday that he was teaming up with Harley. Harley is a fellow puppy mill survivor that had to have one of his eyes removed due to severe infection. Imagine my shock and outrage when I read the following:
"My friend Harley was told by Modern Dog Magazine that he is too old and ugly to appear on their cover."
WHAT?! "Too old" and "ugly?" This dog is a survivor. He has quite literally been through hell and back just to be told that he is not "good enough" to be on the cover of a magazine that is supposed to help educate others about taking care of their pets.
Do we tell women who have survived breast cancer due to having a mastectomy that they are "ugly?" No, we treat them as inspirations. Would you ever dream of telling a child who has lost his/her hair due to chemo therapy that they are "ugly?" How about people in wheelchairs or those with prosthetic limbs? Where do they fit in on Modern Dog Magazine's beauty scale?
I shutter to think about the implications of a dog being "too old." Does this mean that Modern Dog Magazine would have pet owners discard their dogs when they grow older? Our humane societies are filled with animals that have been surrendered by their owners because they are "too old." These people then turn around and buy a puppy. Is this how we treat humans? Why is this practice deemed "acceptable" in a majority of minds?
What kind of example is Modern Dog Magazine setting? They are only aiding in teaching our children to believe in extremely unrealistic beauty standards that simply do not exist. And they obviously do not carry the view that a dog is a member of the family. Would you think of cutting your mother or father or grandparent out of your life because they are old?
This kind of prejudice simply cannot be allowed. ALL dogs are beautiful and deserve to have loving homes. It is time to break the stigma that differently-abled means broken. Penny and Hope are two of the happiest, friendliest dogs that you will ever meet. Whenever we go to pet events, people pass by our four-legged babies and go straight to them. They want to hear about their stories. Many have even asked which rescue groups Hope and Penny came from because they are thinking about adopting a special needs dog as well.
To further prove how wrong Modern Dog Magazine is, Penny recently won first place in the 2nd Chance Animal Rescue-IL Most Photogenic Dog of 2014 photo contest. She was also a finalist in the Share the Spotlight Contest with InstaCredit Automart. This is why publishing Penny's children's book, Priceless Penny, is so important to me. Through sharing Penny's amazing adoption journey, we hope to show the world that different is beautiful and nothing is impawsible. Please visit her official website at:
www.pricelesspennyp.com to learn more.
As animal lovers and advocates, we need to take a stand against such prejudiced beliefs. Please, help Teddy, Harley, Penny, Hope and other dog survivors to be recognized as the wonderful creatures that they are. Let Modern Dog Magazine know exactly how you feel by e-mailing them at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Together, we can give a voice to the voiceless!