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Adopted a Dog with Special Needs: Are Second Thoughts Normal?

Wheelchair corgi is ready to play

It is never easy bringing in a new dog, and it does not matter if this is your first time owning one or replacing your old companion. The decision is even more complicated when the dog you intend to bring in has a few challenges that make caring for it difficult and taxing. Nonetheless, choosing to adopt a dog with a disability or special need requires a special kind of love. Such a dog will require extra attention and is likely to be more dependent than a healthy dog would generally be. Therefore, it is not surprising when one struggles to bring in a dog with a disability.

It is possible to feel a few regrets, especially after the first few days or weeks of having the new dog around. As a result, one should not condemn themselves too much when this happens and still try to be there for their new family member. Below are possible reasons why one could be having second thoughts about the whole idea.

1.  It Is Never Easy when Dog have a Medical Condition

Wheelchair dog outside with owner

If you have handled a pet before, you know that they take up most of your time and energy. Any well-meaning pet owner has to invest in taking care of the furry friend by ensuring they feed right and get enough exercise for them to thrive. Part of the care also involves regular grooming and vet visits. The whole process is time-consuming and costly since it entails spending some money.

Unfortunately, the responsibility becomes so much more when the pet has special needs. Rather than buying ordinary pet food, a special-needs dog may require different foods. In most cases, the special diet does not come easy since it has to be formulated specially to meet the special dog’s needs. 

In case the dog experiences pain, you have to invest in medication and supplements such as getting treats, CBD supplements (from a trusted brand like Sunday Scaries) and other dog foods to ease their discomfort. Unless you have such a big heart, this can be overwhelming. But like with every problem, come solutions. And the solution to this one is to accept and to adapt.

2.  It Can Be Tough to Deal with Behavioral Challenges

Disabled greyhound in a wheelchair walking in his yard

Special needs dogs are not necessarily those with a form of disability that is easy to pinpoint. Some dogs are difficult and almost impossible to deal with. Adopting such a dog can be a testing experience. It may look as though your pup is driving you nuts intentionally.

However, this is not a call for you to give up on the dog. With a little patience and persistence, you can quickly transform your once rebellious dog into a loving friend and partner. Sometimes, the dog’s behavior is a retaliation attempt. In most cases, dogs that exhibit such behaviors are stressed about something. Such dogs may have been neglected or mistreated before, thus developed hatred and mistrust.

These pets require love and affection. You will be surprised at how quickly they transform into loving and caring pets once they learn to trust you. It may take time before they open up to you, though.

3.  Managing Expectations Can Help

If you adopt a dog as a replacement for your former pet, you need to have an open mind. One thing to remember is that the new dog can never truly replace your first pet. However, choosing to adopt such a special needs dog can be the best decision you make. The dog will make for a constant companion and you cannot even begin to imagine the impact you have made on the dog’s life by merely giving him/her a home.

While they may not truly replace your old buddy, the attention and craving for love from you will make you feel needed and useful. Given time, you can form an incredible bond that lasts. It can be an easy way to get over the pain of losing your former pet. A special needs dog will always need you to do things for it. This kind of engagement and commitment will take your mind away from sad thoughts and probably teach you how to love a pet again.

4.  It Takes Time Depending on the Breed

Benny, a disabled dog plays indoors in a Walkin' Pets wheelchair

No one promises that adopting a special needs dog will be easy. It may end up being one of the most challenging things you will ever have to do. This may be the reason why you may regret it at first. Some dogs are known to warm up quickly to people compared to others. Besides that, the dog’s breed may determine how easy it will be to care for them. However, most old dogs can be a handful, even when they were sensitive and smart as younger pups.

In most cases, such dogs may be forgetful and less trusting, mostly if they were neglected. In other words, they may seem like a burden because they are most erratic and almost impossible to control. Some of the older guard dogs may change their behaviors so drastically that it can be confusing. While they may be boisterous around some dogs, they may appear timid and afraid around others.

A common trait is when they seem to chew on almost everything they come across, meaning that they can be very distractive. It is also possible that they will fear getting into specific spaces. With so much to learn and unlearn, such dogs can be a handful even for their previous owners.

Special Needs Dogs Have a Lot of Love to Give!

Special needs dogs are not the easiest pets to adopt. Having said that, it is in the best interests of the dog and you, yourself, that you give it a long thought. This isn’t something you can do on an impulsive whim and then return the dog. Please be careful as the dog does not need the additional trauma. It is normal to sometimes feel frustrated within the first couple of days, but the extra time and patience is worth it. Special needs dogs have a lot of love to give. Because they need you and rely on your help, the bond between a special needs pup and their parents is an incredible one! Once you’ve earned their trust, they will love you forever!

Dog Parents Explain Why You Should Adopt a Special Needs Pup

Wobbly Hannah in her Walkin' Wheels dog wheelchair

“Caring for a special needs pet CAN be more work, but the rewards of it are endless. These pets have so much love to offer and you form the unbreakable bond helping care for them in a unique way based on what they need from you to thrive. They DESERVE the chance at life with amazing families like any other pet.”

– Parents of Wobbly Hannah
Lieutenant Dan the Cadbury bunny

“Don’t pass up a special needs pet just because they are a little different and may require extra care!  They can still be a great companion and provide you so much love and joy!  Once we got into a routine with Lieutenant Dan’s wheels, his diapering, his supplements, and food it has become a normal part of our daily routine and actually does not take much more of our time.  We did have a lot of trial and error with his needs and what works best, but now we have found everything that makes his life all it can be! Don’t give up on a pet just because they are different! You never know what they might add to your life!”

– Laura (Lieutenant Dan’s mom)
rear dog wheelchair

“I learned living with Dawkins was no matter what happens to you in life you keep pushing. Dogs adapt to their struggles and turn them into opportunities. You get through the hard days and you look at him and think how did I get so lucky to have a great dog like you.”

– Tracy (Dawkin’s mom)

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