'Special needs' pets need constant care, extra attention

Author: , Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published: Jan 30 2013 04:40:28 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 24 2013 07:13:53 AM EST
Obie - special needs dog

Some animals need a little more TLC than others, and there are some things you should know if you're opening your home to a "special needs" pet.

Obie, a stray from the streets of Allentown, recently came out of surgery and was taken in by the Lehigh County Humane Society.

"I've been sheltering for 19 years, and this is first time we've had a dog like this anywhere  I've been.," said Cary Moran, shelter manager.

Due to a spinal issue, Obie can't use his hind legs and needs a wheelchair to get around.

"He loves to play. He's played with a young dog that visits the shelter often," Moran said.

Moran did admit special needs animals like Obie are especially tough to adopt. If you want to adopt Obie or any special needs pet, you need to know what that entails.

"He is going to need a lifetime of care," said Kathy Tuhacek, a veterinarian, who noted that every special needs case is different.

Some animals, like a pit bull boxer mix at the Humane Society, have major skin issues that need to be solved. Others, like a one-eyed cat, have eyesight problems.

For Obie, he needs constant care and special attention that can be both expensive and time consuming, said Tuhacek, who has seen many cases when the best of intentions turn into a heartbreaking return.

"You have to think with your head and not your heart," she advised.

"Unconditional love," said Moran, when asked about the payoff. "Every bit of attention he absorbs like a sponge. Lets you know how much he appreciates and loves it."

Obie and several other special needs animals are patiently awaiting that special person to take them in.