special-needs-pets

Charlie is our blind bird. He was diagnosed with cataracts shortly after his arrival. His body is tiny and frail, and his eyes are fully blind, however; he sees the kindness in other’s hearts, and is more sensitive to it than anyone else. None of the birds take advantage of his blindness, whereas, humans are corrupt and oftentimes deceive the blind. He sees it all. One’s intent to hurt, deceive… or one’s intent to be kind and generous.

Why Do I Only Have One Lovebird?

This is Kirby, the adorable floof who lives with me.

He is a peach faced lovebird, a type of bird which many people believe will die if they do not have another lovebird friend [This is a myth, but birds in general need a bird companion, or frequent human interaction to be happy]. And when I mention that I own a lovebird most people tend to narrow their eyes and say “Only one?”.

The short version is that Kirby is unable to have bird friends because he is a little bit unusual.

I have been around Kirby since he was only a few weeks old. 

(look at that adorable face)

His siblings were all perfectly normal birds

But Kirby Hatched with what is typically called a “splayed leg” 

His right leg is completely normal, but his left leg wants to be positioned at a 90 degree angle to the left.

We tried to have it corrected when he was only a few months old

He was essentially encased in a foam block with his legs pulled through at the appropriate angle. The vet wasn’t hopeful about this solution however, and within a couple of days he had broken free. And the vet said that he would be able to live a long and pain-free life, he would just never be able to perch or walk normally. 

This issue means that Kirby can’t be around other birds who ultimately fixate on this quirk, and begin chasing him and biting his leg.

Even his siblings had to be separated from him because they began biting him and pulling on his leg while he tried to escape. 

But even though he’s by himself I know he’s a happy little monster who enjoys his baths and destroying electronics. And if possible, would spend every waking moment on me or my partner’s shoulder.

Negative

So, it’ll be 8 weeks this Wednesday and though I’m still having my grief bombs here and there, I’m actually becoming really close with my other cat, Archie. 

There is a misconception that when someone loses a pet that they should get another pet straight away to make themselves and their remaining family members “get better” faster. Although I am sure there are exceptions to this rule, as there are to every rule, I am not this exception. 

I look at Archimedes as this poor, innocent soul. Someone who needs extra care all the time and constant reassurance. He needs to be ON my person at all times to feel safe. He sleeps in my hair. While I have been his “mother” so to speak in the eight years that we’ve been blessed enough to have him, Kassie was his security blanket. 

I would often see him having a hard time with his anxiety, and then look over at her, even if she was sleeping, and immediately feel okay because he could see that she was still there. Often, she was not allowed to have any personal space because he wanted to be touching her. If you have ever seen their (once mutual, now individual) Instagram page (@archimedespatrick), you’ll be able to see how close they were as family members. It is gut-wrenching to see him look for her for comfort now that she is gone. 

And, while Kassie of course doesn’t look super happy to have any of that happening, she still allowed him to take comfort in her, to take her personal space and her sleep, never hissed or made him piss off. She accepted that he needed extra help. For this, we are forever grateful. 

Here’s the catch, folks: Archie hates other cats. We once had to babysit our clinic cat, Wendy, and he wanted to murder her. He was so aggressive and mean and I had never seen him like that. She wasn’t even doing anything. This adds to my hesitation in getting another rescue at this time (although I do know that eventually thing would work out - it’s a lot of work and energy.)

The most important part of all of this, is that none of us are really ready. Scott and I browse rescue sites and while we want to be ready to allow another poor soul into our lives, we just can’t. 

Two days ago, Archie had to have last-minute (not quite emergency) surgery to remove this huge growth from his left hip. This grew over the bridge of time that we have been grieving our girl. Here’s the thing about Archie - his anxiety is so bad that when he gets stressed, his immune system drops out of the race. He gets infections, respiratory issues, and this time, where he got a pain injection (or possibly a bite from our dearly departed), he grew a mass that seemed like it was the size of a twonie, but once the surgeon extracted it, turned out to be five times that size underneath. He has also lost 18% of his body weight since losing his best friend, so that was also scary since getting him to eat has been the worst. 

We’re waiting for the histopathology report. I refresh it at least twice an hour. Sometimes more. He’s been on meds that make him funny, he obviously can never walk again because the gown he’s wearing made his legs disappear :P

In trying to deal with grief bombs and recovering surgery patients, I also took an online course today about heart disease in cats and dogs. It really helped me understand exactly what happened to Kassie. I’ve got so much more information to ponder upon. 

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Do you have any of these precious souls among your kids? :)

Merchandises for bird parents with special kids available on my stores below:
USA based store 1: https://society6.com/product/special-need-birds_t-shirt
USA based store 2 for more various products: http://www.zazzle.com/petopet/gifts?cg=196839706426235259&rf=238983395575595838
Aussie based store: http://www.redbubble.com/people/lifewithbirds/works/16005399-special-need-birds

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Donald was found lying outside a McDonald’s by Dog Aide Community Awareness Program in Detroit, Michigan.

He’s an older dog, and he’s blind, but we know there’s a home out there for someone who will love and care for Donald!

He startles easy, so it would be best to have a home without young children or other dogs.  But Donald loves cats!  He also loves people, and after a year looking for a home, he really wants to find some forever people.

If you can open your heart to Donald, email info@dogaide.com or call 313-744-6364!

I’ve always been very transparent and forthcoming about BUB’s health and well-being. That’s really what this is all about: sharing her life and giving people a glimpse of the joys and the challenges of caring for a special needs pet as special as BUB.

I wanted to wait until we were sure that BUB was well and recovering (yes! she is!) before sharing this news outside of our immediate circle of family and friends. Last week BUB had an accident and she fractured her left front elbow and had to undergo surgery to ensure it healed properly. It was a very difficult and stressful time for our family, consisting of sleepless nights, multiple 4 hour round trips to and and from the hospital, and unimaginable fear and worrying. But I am thrilled to report that she is doing great, she is as spry as ever, has the appetite of a lion, and seems to have no idea that anything even happened. She is the definition of strength and determination, and continues to amaze us with her fearlessness and positivity.

BUB has a very rare bone condition called osteopetrosis. It causes her bones to become unusually thick, hard, and dense, and this has impacted her mobility from a young age. But with treatment and a lot of encouragement, her mobility has been consistently improving for the past three years. It has been a huge blessing to see her relearn how to run, jump and be active again. However, last week, when BUB eagerly scuttled to her food when it was time to eat, she unexpectedly slipped and fell - something that’s never happened before. She landed hard on her left front elbow and fractured her knee, and that’s when we discovered that her condition also makes her bones more brittle than those of a typical healthy cat. Thankfully, the fracture was not on a weight-bearing bone. After consulting with our vet and getting opinions from three different surgeons, it was decided that she would require surgery to ensure that the joint healed properly, and she could regain full use of her leg.

During this episode, BUB received the very best treatment from the orthopedic surgeons at Purdue University in Lafayette, IN. Considering her size and her extremely rare bone condition, they took extra special care in ensuring that her surgery was safe and successful. They brought in their best surgeons, doubled up their staff, ordered special tools and even custom pieces to help guarantee a successful surgery. I can’t thank Dr Malek and her team enough for taking such good care of BUB. I don’t don’t know what we would’ve done without them.

This photo here was actually taken before she went into surgery. Now that her fracture is fixed, she no longer needs a cast, but does require constant supervision to ensure her leg heals properly. As I mentioned earlier, as far as she is concerned, she is as good as new. Her eyes are full of life, she is purring, squonking and as happy as ever.

Naturally, I was prepared to cancel our upcoming appearances. After discussing it in depth, our vet and BUB’s surgeons do not see any reason that BUB cannot go on these trips so long as she is not pet or handled by anyone other than myself. In fact, we have determined that during this critical time of recovery, being in her carrier and under my 24 hour care and supervision is safer than keeping her at home with our clumsy dog and curious son, where we have more day-to-day distractions.

Unlike most cats (my other four included) BUB loves to travel. She has been traveling in cars, taxis, trains, and planes since she was less than a year old, and she’s loved it since her first trip. Together we have visited more than 20 cities and have traveled over 150,000 miles. She calmly sleeps through trans-continental flights, and gently purrs in the car. So while the travel itself does not pose any danger to BUB’s health or recovery, the only way we can still do our meet and greets is if we ask that people do not pet BUB at our upcoming events. I’ve normally allowed attendees to gently pet her, but to ensure her health and safety, and to minimize unnecessary stress and anxiety, our vets have suggested that she only be handled by me. I’m sure that BUB’s fans will understand.

BUB and I are eternally grateful for the love and support of all of you that follow her story, and appreciate her magic. I truly believe that our combined love of BUB is what fuels her determined spirit, and allows her to continue her good work on planet Earth.

GOOD JOB BUB.

Watch on silent-rob.tumblr.com

Anakin the two-legged kitten is growing up into a gorgeous, happy, healthy wee lad. Just look at him. Doesn’t let anything get him down. He has amazing spirit and much thanks must go to his amazing rescuer and doting “mum” Carrie Hawks, of Pensacola, Florida.

Please adopt special needs pets. They have as much right to love and a forever home as able-bodied pets, and they will give plenty of love in return.

"Actually, It's For a Dog"

This is Dapper Dan.  He’s the latest in what is starting to become quite the list of my special needs pets.  See, about three months ago, Danny ruptured a disc in his back.  The vet told us that this happens to one out of every five dachshunds (Do you and four friends own weenie dogs?  Tread carefully.).  Unfortunately for Danny, it happened twice.  Because of the complications surrounding the second occurrence, Danny will forever have a bit of a wobble to his wiggle and can no longer manage things like stairs or furniture.  This can be a problem in a house that isn’t ground level.

So what did we do?  We built a ramp.

Unless the person you’re dealing with is completely void of soul, nothing will get them on your side quicker than the title of this post, and it doesn’t hurt to add the phrase, “He’s a dachshund who just had back surgery.”  I have never met such an enthusiastic carpenter.  He told me about how they normally do disability ramps for people, and then was off like a shot, measuring, thinking out loud, even appropriating some latticework we had lying around for guard rails, all the while asking questions about Danny.  He called me twice to offer advice on how best to block the stairs.  I think it only took him three hours to complete the thing, and the result was fabulous.

Tomorrow, I’m putting on some traction tape to make it a little less slick (it has slats every 4 inches to keep little doggy paws on the ramp, but it’s not quite enough), and come spring we’ll be staining the thing.  

Danny has gone up and down the ramp, sans prompting, once in the past three days.  But he’s getting the hang of it, and soon he’ll have a little bit more independence back.

So next time someone tries to stall on a job, or charge you more, just mention some sort of fluffy entity that will be needing it.

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Peter is darling and absolutely sure he’s ALL you need to be happy! He’s at Chicago CAT Lovers - Azrael’s Place in Illinois.  He does have feline leukemia, but this charmer is otherwise healthy and happy.

He’s playful and good with dogs and people.  As you can see, he’s also a champion bed warmer.

 Email azraelsplace@hotmail to meet Peter!