Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sparky Finds A Home

At one time, Sparky the black & white dachshund was trapped in Nowheresville -- a shelter dog with few prospects for any kind of a quality life. After all, who would choose a deaf dachshund from among all the other animals without special needs?

But then he was chosen to be trained in a prisoner rehab program in a Missouri state correctional facility. And instead of being returned to the shelter, Sparky was given to the Missouri School for the Deaf. And there he is thriving, among students and faculty who see him as something of a mascot.

This is his story, yet another one proving that home is where the heart is, that the families we choose are often more comfortable than the ones we're born into, and that in return for the extra care they require, special needs pets often give back far more than we invest. Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Who's Savin' Who?

Starting this Sunday morning, I'll be pleased to share facilitator duties with my great friend and author colleague, Barbara Techel, leading the discussion about special needs pets and the wonderful and unexpected ways they change our lives, on the Facebook fan page of bestselling author and pet expert Darlene Arden!

Darlene is a respected animal behavior expert, whose new book, The Complete Cat's Meow: Everything You Need to Know About Caring For Your Cat, just hit the shelves from Howell Book House. She's been hosting these weekly chats about all things pets for years now on her Facebook page. Thanks to FB's recent changes, she's moved the discussion to her fan page, which unfortunately cost her the rich archives of previous discussions. But let's help her populate her new forum with a lively discussion of our own, shall we? Like any gray cloud, this one has a silver lining: It'll make it REAL easy to find the link to our discussion, since ours will be the second one listed!

So, what's it all about?

Well, Barb -- author of the popular and insanely well-selling Frankie, the Walk 'n Roll Dog book series, which chronicles the real-life story of her dachshund who became partially paralyzed from the effects of IVDD -- and I will be facilitating an open, week-long conversation about the challenges of living with and caring for special needs pets, and the incredible and often surprising ways their presence in our lives can uplift, fulfill and inspire us.

The title of our discussion comes from the common experience of the humans, who adopt or rescue these special needs critters from shelters or from being thrown away because they're no longer "whole" or "perfect," that while we thought we were rescuing the animals, in the end we learn that they have somehow rescued us. And it's all being hosted by Darlene, on her Facebook Discussion Page.

So join us, won't you? All you need do is join Facebook, and "Like" Darlene's fan page, then you're all set and ready to post your questions, comments and resources to share with others like us who really care about giving special needs pets the quality of life and love they so richly deserve. Looking forward to "seeing" you there!