Over the years my husband and I have adopted several pets who have what are commonly referred to in animal rescue terms as, “Special Needs”.  Of course, all animals need special care and love, but there will always be those that require a little extra time and attention due to chronic disease, physical disability, behavioral issues or needs associated with old age.

Very often there is an added expense involved with bringing a special needs pet into your home and family.  Recently I was remembering some of the cherished dogs and cats that have been a part of our family – and recalling some of the very-expensive surgeries, procedures, and medications we provided, not to mention some very expensive home repairs incurred from sharing our home with dogs and cats with bladder or bowel control issues.  (Ask me sometime to tell you about our beloved cat, “Ears” who very nearly destroyed our home due to his resolute spraying habits, or dear“Mrs. Mendelbright”, the dog who suffered from Cushings disease and diabetes….)

It occurred to me that although having pets with special needs has been expensive, time consuming and often heart-breaking – we have never, not even for a moment, regretted bringing any of these amazing animals into our lives.  For the amount of money we have spent on veterinary expenses and “damage control” we could have taken some amazing vacations or purchased that yacht we’ve often joked about.  Would I trade the years or sometimes just months we’ve have with these very special souls for things that money buys?  Of course not.  Every pet that becomes a “Murphy” brings us unimaginable joy and love, with or without the baggage that often comes along.  Friends and family remind us frequently how “lucky” our sometimes-broken four-legged family members are to have landed in our home.  My response is always the same.  “We are the lucky ones.”

I’ll close with this – the next time you are in search of a new furry family member, don’t pass over those pets who have, “special needs”.   The rewards of loving a dog or cat who needs a little extra care will make your efforts completely worthwhile.