Guest post by Lauren Kramer-Theuerkauf of Theuerkauf’s Tails

I have developed quite a passion for rescuing differently-abled animals.  In fact, we did not even know one of our fur babies was differently-abled until the day we adopted her. 

Here are my top five tips to enjoying an amazing life with your special needs fur baby:

  1. Since Hope is blind, we had a terrible time with her snatching treats from our hand. We certainly do not want anyone getting bit! Now, whenever we are about to give Hope a treat, we lightly tap her nose.  his makes her aware of our presence as opposed to simply thrusting a treat in front of her snout where she would be more likely to nip and grab.  Once we have tapped her nose, we have her full attention. She then eagerly waits for the treat to be given. Hope now always associates a tap on the snout with being given a treat.  #nomorenip 
  2. Consider starting your tripod pet on a joint supplement. Since Penny has a differently-formed paw, she is perpetually off balance. She places all of her weight on her front right leg (a.k.a. The Super Paw). This paw is much larger than her back paws because she must rely on it for stability. We began giving her a joint supplement because we found out from our vet that tripod animals are more likely to develop arthritis in their hips and other joints. The supplements come in a variety of forms:  liquid, capsules, chewables, etc. Penny loves the beef flavor and happily gobbles up her tablet every day.
  3. If you have a blind dog, consider purchasing a Muffin’s Halo. The halo is attached to a harness that the dog wears like a vest. The halo then acts as a barrier preventing your blind pooch from running into potentially dangerous items.  Wearing the halo can re-build the dog’s confidence and help him/her live a happier life.  To learn more about Muffin’s Halo, visit www.muffinshalo.com.
  4. Consider purchasing custom collars and leashes that easily denote your dog’s condition. We purchased a leash for Hope that says BLIND DOG. This alerts others who may want to approach your pet that they should do so with caution. The leashes come in a variety of colors that also denote if your dog is approachable, shy, etc. 
  5. My final tip is to treat your differntly-abled pet like a “normal” pet! We thought each of our special fur babies would need extra care and accommodations. We were wrong! Penny does not need to be picked up and placed onto the furniture. She can jump on and off by herself. Hope does not need to be carried in her special weenie pouch every day. She wants to explore the world through her own four paws (with a little help from her snout). 

Remember, differently-abled does not mean disabled.

About the writer: I am passionate about animals and have been involved in animal welfare for more than  fifteen years.  I love working with differently-abled animals!  I am also a certified therapy dog handler with Therapy Dogs International (T.D.I.). I am a member of All American Dachshund Rescue. I assist with transporting rescued Dachshunds to their foster/forever homes. I volunteer at the APA of Missouri with my three-legged dog, Penny, where we co-teach a humane education class. I am a member of the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) and a volunteer writer/editor with Pets for Patriots and their Wet Nose Blog.