LUBBOCK, TX - When most people consider adding a new pet to the family, for some that means getting a healthy puppy or kitten. For others, it’s more of a call to action.
For decades, the Haven Animal Care Shelter has been giving sick, abandoned and abused pets a second chance at life, including those who have disabilities, or special needs.
“One main thing that sets us apart is that our focus on special needs animals,” said Dr. Brenda Wilbanks, founder and executive director of the Haven. “We believe real strongly that all life has value, if they're deaf or have three legs, or can't walk, we value those just as we do any other animals.”
One animal at the shelter near and dear to volunteers’ hearts is Scooter. The Haven took him in when he first came to the shelter with his two back legs permanently damaged. Vets said surgery wouldn’t work, so they worked toward another solution instead.
“So we got him a wheelchair and he loves to walk. It helps strengthen his legs, when he's on this too. So, not only does he have a good time but it strengthens the muscles there.”
Despite his physical disability, that doesn’t slow Scooter down from greeting visitors in his bright red custom-made wheelchair. Dr. Wilbanks says that disabilities like Scooter’s shouldn’t deter potential pet owners from adopting.
It sure didn’t with Kim Rice, who adopted her second Haven pet just a few months ago: a three-legged kitten named “Baby.”
“We saw her on the website and fell in love with her,” said Rice who recalls checking the site frequently with her daughter to make sure Baby was still at the shelter. “We all want dogs that are perfect or a cat that is perfect, but you go to a shelter and you can find great pets there and you know, they need homes too.”
Think you’d like to give a dog like Scooter or a kitten like Baby a “furever” home? Contact the Haven on how you can get started with either the adoption process or volunteering:
Next Saturday, April 9, the Haven will host its annual “Strut for the Mutts,” an event that raises funds for the shelter to continue taking care of its animals.
Registration for the one-mile walk begins at 9 a.m., the walk will begin at 10 a.m. Owners can take their dogs, or even a Haven dog, for a walk around Higginbotham Park. In addition to the walk, there will also be a fashion show and free photo booth.
Registration fees: $20 per person (children under 12 get to strut for free!)
They will also be taking all canned or dry dog and cat food donations.