Category Archives: special needs

The dog at the Presidential Inaugural Parade

The dog won’t be Bo…it’ll be this (not so little) fellow:

Independence, a dog balloon proudly wearing a Canine Companions assistance dog vest, will appear in the parade on January 21st.

Independence, a dog balloon proudly wearing a Canine Companions assistance dog vest, will appear in the parade on January 21st.

Independence will be the mascot for Canine Companions for Independence on their float in the 57th Presidential Inaugural Parade on Monday, January 21st.

Canine Companions will have 132 marchers from 14 states, with nationwide participation including assistance dog teams, volunteer puppy raisers, National Board Members and staff.

“Canine Companions is honored to be chosen to participate in the Presidential Inaugural Parade. We’re grateful to be able to share in this historic day and to share our mission of serving people with disabilities worldwide,” says CEO Corey Hudson.

Canine Companions was one of 60 organizations chosen from over 2,800 applications. The theme of the parade is “Our People, Our Future”

Now, I wonder where Bo will be?

Deaf pet awareness week

The week of 23 – 29 September is Deaf Pet Awareness Week.

In many cases, when a dog is found to be deaf, it is put to sleep.   However, more frequently there are pet owners willing to take on these special needs animals.  These dogs can be trained using sign language and are just as intelligent as ‘normal’ dogs.

Deafness in animals can be inherited or acquired through trauma, drug reactions, or simply old age.   Dalmatians and Boxers are more prone to deafness than others. Thirty percent of all Dalmatians born are either deaf in one ear or  bilaterally deaf.   Some deaf dogs also have albinism, meaning that they lack normal melanin pigment in their eyes, nose, or skin.  Owners of these dogs have to pay special attention to sun protection.

The Deaf Dog Education Action Fund has a wonderful website with answers to questions involving the ownership and care of deaf dogs.

Use this special week to contact animal shelters in your area to find out if there is a special deaf dog waiting for you!

Firm comes to aid of disabled dog

When Lucky’s wheelchair was stolen, New Hampshire firm stepped in with a new one.  Read the story here.

David Feeney with his dog, Lucky, in Lucky's new wheelchair. Photo by Matthew J Lee, Boston Globe.

Pet relief areas in US airports

In 2009, the US Government passed legislation requiring service animals that are flying to have indoor and outdoor relief facilities.

Here’s what the facility at Maui’s Kahului Airport looks like:

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Kandu, the two-legged dog

There are special needs dogs and the special people who take care of them.  Today, I’m sharing the story of Kandu, a Jack Russell who was born without his front legs.

Kandu’s initial owner thought that he should be euthanised but a welfare agency put out the call for owners willing to take on a special needs dog and the rest, as they say, is history.    Kandu is fitted with a special cart that allows him to run and play like all other dogs and he even has a special snowboard for winter play.

Faith the dog

I’m very interested in special needs dogs.  These dogs often have physical limitations that can be assisted with massage, acupressure and laser treatments (which I can provide).

In my research on special needs dogs, I have come across the story of Faith – a biped dog who was born with her front legs so deformed that she was unable to walk on them.  (of added interest, my sister’s name is Faith)

Faith the dog

Faith the Dog’s website isn’t the most professional I’ve seen, but it certainly tells a heartwarming story of a dog that was going to be killed by its mother and was saved by a young man.  Despite recommendations that Faith be put down, her adoptive family persisted and trained her to walk on her hind legs using treats like peanut butter.  Faith is now a loyal family pet who also serves as a therapy dog.

Faith’s story has been told on the Oprah Winfrey Show.  Watch the Oprah segment here.

So now you know why Faith’s story carries the byline Hope and Love on Two Legs!

Helping service dogs

Engineering students at Northeastern University (my alma mater) are working to design a product that will help service dogs.

Initially, the first-year engineering students were given an assignment to submit a design for an apparatus that would help service dogs to do their job.  This required the students to research what gear was already available and in use.

After submitting designs for things like an apparatus that would help a service dog pull a wheelchair in a straight line, the students felt there was unfinished business.  Working with their faculty sponsor and the University’s Centre of Community Service, these students are now pursuing product design and development in their spare time.

Read The Boston Globe’s story on this project.

Watch the video.