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Benefits of Adopting a Less-Adoptable Pet

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With Romulus and Juno in tow to meet little Nala, we headed down to see the three-legged Pit Bull baby with a cherry eye. Sure enough, everyone passed the sniff test and we loaded up the three dogs in the car and off we went. Little did we know on that day, our family was soon to add another member. At the very moment that Nala’s three paws hit the floor in our house, my husband Carlos decided that she was never going back. The two of them fell in love.

Juno, our puppy mill girl, is extremely shy and is a special needs dog in her own right, so we hadn’t considered ‘taking on’ another dog, particularly one with a “disability”. That said, Nala fit in quite naturally into our home in that first week, and in fact, seemingly due to her sweet and outgoing nature, we noticed some positive changes in Juno! When the week was up, we reluctantly took her back to the East Bay SPCA for her cherry-eye surgery, and I expected to see her next during my volunteer shift. Little did I know that we would meet again a little sooner.

While the SPCA staff person lovingly took Nala from our hands, my husband casually mentioned that we would adopt her. I just didn’t expect her to remember those words a week later when Nala healed enough to be put up for adoption. The East Bay SPCA called me and said that if we’d like to adopt her, we could come by. So we discussed it, and discussed it some more and went to see her. We visited her several times in the week that passed, until we finally decided to bring her back to the home in which she belonged…. ours. We had worried about managing three dogs ~ about conflict, how to help a tripod, and of course the fact that she’s a Pit Bull was a big consideration. At the end of the day, it was really about how much we really did care for that little girl, so we made the leap.

Once back home, the dogs greeted her as if they were saying…”Where have you been, and why were you gone so long?” She settled right back in. There were some transition pains during the first month as Romulus and Juno helped Nala understand ‘the ways of the house’ using teeth and voice. Once Nala understood the rules, she was more than happy to abide. She and Romulus, who is nine years old, play together like puppies every day. It’s clear that they adore each other and Romulus is a much happier dog. She cuddles with Juno on the couch, as Juno isn’t much for puppy play. The three dogs get along famously and it really hasn’t been as much work as I anticipated to care for three dogs. Other than not over feeding her and adding a few rugs, Nala needs very little to help her manage as a tripod.

Nala was quite small when she came to live with us at her tender age of six months. She hadn’t yet developed the strong back legs that now propel her, so we got her a stroller. On walks, she would walk a bit, then get tired and stroll for a while so that Juno and Romulus could get in their exercise. In just a few months time, she was walking the entire time, albeit a little more slowly, but she has incredible speed for a dog of her size and, in particular, one with three legs. People on the trails are always astounded by her agility, sweet personality, and beautiful, soulful eyes. We very rarely get any comments about her being a Pit Bull.

I think that missing a leg has actually given her a ‘leg up’ on being more approachable for people who would be otherwise reticent to say “hello”. People regularly say that they are inspired by Nala because she is clearly not bothered in the least by missing her front limb. She is a great gift to us, and she is providing the gift of inspiration to others. We are grateful to have her in our lives and would never turn back.”

Next: Other pets available for adoption in the Club Second Chance program.

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Read more: Behavior & Communication, Cats, Dogs, Everyday Pet Care, Humor & Inspiration, Pets, , , , ,

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Lisa Spector

Lisa Spector is a concert pianist, Juilliard graduate, and canine music expert. She is co-founder of Through a Dog's Ear, the first music clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system. Their new high-tech pet gadget, iCalmDog, is the portable solution to canine anxiety. Lisa shares her home and her heart with her two "career change" Labrador Retrievers from Guide Dogs for the Blind, Sanchez and Gina. Follow Lisa's blog here.


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5:25PM PST on Dec 21, 2012

Working rescue most all my babies were special needs as no one wants, sad they have no idea what wonderful love they are missing.

5:25PM PST on Dec 21, 2012

Working rescue most all my babies were special needs as no one wants, sad they have no idea what wonderful love they are missing.

5:05AM PDT on Oct 14, 2012

I wish more people would consider saving a pet from a shelter. The less adoptable pets can be such wonderful companions, you realize having a purebred isn't everything.

Read more from Plz Adopt a Dog:,

1:40PM PST on Dec 31, 2011


9:18PM PST on Dec 4, 2011

I tried to adopt a "special needs" cat three months ago (since I am home during the day) but I soon found out that there were none for adoption - they were all for sale! And....they were very expensive. One cat in particular was 9 years old and blind. The people wanted over $200 for him!! I ended up adopting a 2 year old able-bodied cat and we are so happy with him. Why do "special needs" animals have a price tag?

7:51AM PDT on Oct 12, 2011


12:26PM PDT on Oct 9, 2011

A pet doesn't have to be perfect ,just perfect for me.

8:24PM PDT on Oct 8, 2011

Frasier was a sweet dog of 14 years when he lost his human parent and no one else in the family could or would take him.He was turned over to rescue and I adopted him. I was so grateful to be able to give him another year and a half. Adopting a senior dog is the most wonderful experience I've had as a pet owner.

4:06PM PDT on Oct 3, 2011

I really want to adopt a blind pet. It saddens me when I see them.

12:07PM PDT on Oct 2, 2011

this is such a great organization, and a great story! after how much i've heard about puppy mills and such i would never get a dog from a store.

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