The human cycle of life begins with children being cared for by their parents. In many cases, the tables are turned later in life when the child must care for their parents. Surprisingly, this situation can also arise in the animal world with younger animals taking on the role of their parents’ carer. That is what has happened for a dog called Pinky and her father Flash. I Heart Dogs tells the story of Pinky, who is a two-year-old rescue dog. Her father, Flash, is only five years old, but he is now visually impaired. This means that the two dogs spend all their time together, with Pinky acting as a guide fog for her father. Pinky and Flash were taken in by the Animal Welfare Society Maine. Prior to living in the shelter, the two dogs were wandering around on the streets. This meant that they were not used to living in an indoor environment.
Therefore, the staff at the shelter had to train the dogs how to cope with household items with which they were not accustomed, such as beds and chairs. Now, Pinky and Flash are fully house trained, which means that they are ready to find a forever home. The staff at the shelter have described the pair as having a special relationship, which is important due to Flash’s visual impairment. Pinky helps her father to navigate the world, so they spend all their time together. The staff has also said that they are now ready for rehoming, but that it is essential that the pair remain together. This means the shelter is looking for adoptive parents who are willing to take on two dogs and have enough room in their home to accommodate them both. Once they are in their new home, the staff believe that they will adjust quickly. However, Flash will need Pinky by his side to help him make this adjustment. She will play a vital role in supporting Flash while he becomes accustomed to navigating his way around his new environment.
Of course, the shelter may have more difficulty in rehoming these dogs than they would other dogs for two reasons. First, there are fewer people who are willing to welcome two dogs into their home at one time. Most people who want to adopt a dog want just one dog at a time. This cannot happen because Pinky and Flash are a bonded pair that needs each other. Second, some people may find Flash’s visual impairment off-putting. Dogs that are in good health and not suffering from any disabilities are usually chosen first. This is because people are concerned that dogs with a disability or a health condition will need extra care and could become expensive due to medical costs. This is a common problem faced by animal shelters as there are many dogs with additional needs that spend extended periods in animal shelters due to people’s unwillingness to consider offering them a forever home. Thankfully, not everyone finds the thought of caring for special needs dogs off-putting.
A perfect example of this is Paula Peek who adopted one special needs dog a decade ago and now shares her home with 20 dogs with special needs. According to The Dodo, it all began ten years ago when Peek was collecting a litter of puppies from a shelter to deliver them to her friend who was going to bottle feed them. When Peek walking into the shelter, she saw a dog called Weeble who was about to be euthanized. She stopped them from going ahead with euthanizing the dog, who they explained was the only one of a litter left because he couldn’t walk and that he had been in the shelter for 10 days. Peek decided to take the dog home, and he was later diagnosed with spina bifida. She worked hard to look after the dog and even gave him therapy to give him a better chance of getting mobile. All her love and care worked because Weeble can now walk.
Although she had always loved dogs and had fostered litters of puppies before until homes were found for them, it was Weeble that really changed her life. She felt passionate about offering homes to dogs with special needs, just like Weeble. After she had adopted Weeble, Peek decided to open her home to even more special needs dogs. She began taking in dogs with kidney disease, cancer, and various spinal conditions. She tries to care for as many dogs as possible, although she is at maximum capacity with 20 dogs. Most of the dogs she takes in are either terriers or Chihuahuas. Peek has a very busy schedule caring for so many dogs. It is a constant cycle of feeding dogs, giving them medication, caring for their additional needs, and taking them for walks. Thankfully, she enjoys her role as their carer. Peek also works a full-time job to cover the cost of the dogs’ care, as it costs more than $25,000 a year.
The hard part for Peek is that a lot of the dogs she cares for only have a limited time with her due to the seriousness of their health conditions. Often, she is simply providing them with a comfortable environment in which to spend their final days. After a dog dies, she usually welcomes another dog into her home almost straight away, but she will only choose dogs that she thinks are a good fit. Hopefully, somebody as kind and loving as Peek will come forward to welcome Pinky and Flash into their home soon, Despite Flash’s visual impairment, the pair will make fantastic pets, and they truly deserve this second chance in life. They simply need someone to come forward who is willing to take on two dogs and who can overlook the fact that Flash is visually impaired so that the dogs can go on to have a happy life.