I was considering what approach to take in writing about empowering people with disabilities, and it occurred to me that there is another group which also suffers with many of the disabilities inherent to mankind. Companion animals, in particular dogs and cats, do indeed experience many of the same health challenges to which we are prone. In looking into the devices and aids available to our animal friends, I found quite a number of helpful and informative sites. Wheelchairs and carts for dogs are available in many designs, and there’s a wealth of information available about getting help for your disabled pets. More and more sophisticated treatments, drugs and surgeries are available for ill or injured pets.
Is there anyone alive who has not seen the videos of Faith, the courageous dog born with no front legs. She was given very little chance of survival, but Faith is now five years old, and her story has moved many a heart, mine among them. We Americans love an underdog, especially one who triumphs over tremendous odds, and Faith is a winner indeed.
I watched a video about “Rolling Dog Ranch Animal Sanctuary”, recently moved from its original home in Montana to the White Mountains of northern New Hampshire. The couple who operate this charitable home for disabled animals take in only cats, dogs and horses, usually from animal shelters. Erase from your mind those pictures of pitiful little kitties with dark glasses, selling apples on a street corner. Three-legged dogs hobbling painfully around? Heck no, three-legged dogs running around like mad, canines on carts, Weimaraners on wheels! Life’s a party at RDR! Blind? Deaf? Crippled? Missing a Limb? These lucky animals have a forever home to live out the rest of their days. Here, the “least of our brethren”, most of whom have no idea they’re handicapped, will have plentiful food, fresh water, freedom, shelter, safety and unconditional love. It’s a case of humans doing the empowering for their animal friends.