Quirky cutie Corky Concentrates on Convalescence

Posted on by Mary Shafer

Say THAT one five times fast!

But it’s a story I just HAD to share with you, because Corky is likely on her way from euthanasia endangerment to poster child for the “rescue a disabled pet” movement. I don’t wanna spoil the story, so go on over and read for yourself this heartwarming tale of being in the right place, at the right time, with the right, compassionate people ready, able and willing to help.

Sure to warm the “corkles” of your heart!

We’re A Trend!

Posted on by Mary Shafer

When we published Almost Perfect: Disabled Pets and the People Who Love Them, there was no other book available that was devoted solely to the stories of special needs pets. Within a year of its publication, there were three other similar titles. Conventional wisdom in the publishing industry is that if there’s no other book like the one you want to publish, there’s probably a good reason for it — namely, that no one’s probably interested in reading such a book. We knew all that, but we believed the time had come for our anthology about the joys and challenges of living with disabled pets, so we took the chance. And we’re thrilled that we did. It seems we pioneered the genre — an honor usually reserved for the Big Six publishers and their imprints, who can afford to take such a gamble.

The truth is, we really didn’t believe we were gambling. As the mom of four disabled cats myself, and knowing several other disabled pet parents, I knew there were readers out there hungry for more information about living with special needs pets; looking for connection with other disabled pet parents like us. The continued sales of Almost Perfect — including our first foray into eBooks — along with what is now a plethora of similarly themed titles by other publishers, proves that we were right.

And now, there’s an increasing amount of anecdotal evidence from veterinarians that indeed, a trend is afoot among their patients’ families to consider living with a less-than-perfect pet rather than having injured animals euthanized. And we’re excited about that, since the main theme of our book — and this blog — is the fact that special needs pets, though admittedly more work, still make great companions and are worth the extra effort, because they can still live happy, full lives and enrich our own as pet families.

“Today, people consider their animals part of the family,” says Walter Renberg, DVM, a professor of small-animal surgery at Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine. “They’re less willing to euthanize a pet if there’s something they can do to sustain that relationship.” And often, there is something they can do.

Here at Almost Perfect Pets, we’ve also received calls and emails from pet parents whose beloved animal was in danger of being euthanized for an injury, who were desperately searching for an alternative to that death sentence, which bears out Dr. Renberg’s statement. We’re happy they reached out, and we’ve been able to put them in contact with groups and information to help them — a deeply gratifying outcome.

We’re very happy to share the rest of this conversation with you today in the form of LIFE WITH A DISABLED PET: TOOLS AND TIPS THAT HELP, a post from PawNation. In these times of so much bad news, we’re thrilled to be able to spread this great news, in the hopes that it will help people struggling with their own decisions about keeping an injured family pet alive or even adopting an almost perfect pet from the start. Please pass this information on to anyone you know who may be needing it. Roll on!


Go, Gizmo! A Sweet, Blind Girl Grabs the Spotlight

Posted on by Mary Shafer

Who says “almost perfect” ain’t good enough?

Gizmo the blind cat

Certainly not Gizmo, the sixteen-year-old, blind cat who snagged an unlikely 14th place in the Cat Fanciers Association cat show in February. She had just about everything going against her, including the fact that she lives at the NatCat shelter in Spring Valley, California. But she didn’t let any of that get in her way when she entered the Household Division after gaining a free contest entry when her organization registered to exhibit at the show in hopes of gaining some adoptions.

Read the rest of this happy ending story, and I guarantee it’ll give your day a little lift.

The Conversation Has Begun

Posted on by Mary Shafer

I’m truly heartened to see that the conversation around special needs pets has truly taken hold of society at large, at least in most developed countries. I’ve seen more and more newspaper, magazine and online media outlets covering this topic, and wanted to share a few of the latest of these with you here.

Tulsa Pets Magazine Logo

Tulsa Pets Magazine recently ran an article by Anna Holton-Dean, talking about this very topic. Check out A Different Kind of Able.

Christine Martinez pinned a piece about Carli Davidson’s Disabled Pets photography exhibit, which I covered in my last post, on her Pinterest page.


Eddie's Wheels logo

Eddie’s Wheels, that bastion of support for critters whose legs need some help, gave us a wonderful post, Living With Disabled Pets — Impact on Your Home, on its blog.


IVG Logo

Massachusetts Veterinary Hospital’s InTown Veterinary Group recently gave us the uplifting Born To Ride: Disabled Pets Still Have A Great Quality of Life!


Every Playlist logo

Every Playlist thought The King’s photo of a wheelie dog was entertaining enough to include on its site, and I’ll leave you with that happy image.

What We Can Learn From Old Animals

Posted on by Mary Shafer

Photo of an elderly dog


No one who’s lived around an aging animal or person can argue that age often brings with it many forms of disability. When those disabilities get too difficult, it’s easy to turn away, not wanting to see. But Philadelphia fine art photographer Isa Leshko has made it a point not to allow us that easy out.

In her latest series, Elderly Animals, she has done something akin to that which Georgia O’Keeffe did with flowers we normally walk right by, when she blew them up to supersized portraits we couldn’t ignore. Leshko has, with this series of direct portraits of old animals, made it impossible for us to turn away and not see. And isn’t that what great art is really about…making us get over ourselves enough to let in some new information and ideas? I strongly recommend checking out a few of the images and reading this fascinating piece about how the photographer came to create this moving body of work.

Beauty Is In The Eye of the Beholder

Posted on by Mary Shafer

Inky, a Chihuahua      Photo © Carli Davidson

Just had to share with y’all this brief post on a professional photographer who felt inspired to do a photo essay on disabled pets. She sees what we see: the unspeakable beauty of the almost perfect pet. Enjoy!

Frank and Louie: When Being Two-Faced Isn’t A Slur

Posted on by Mary Shafer

This kitty was born with two faces, one of an uncommon type of cat called “Janus cats,” after the Roman mythological god whose one face looked to the past, while the other looked to the future. And what do you call a two-faced cat, but two names?

This one’s Frank and Louie, and I think you’ll enjoy the story of this record-holding, literally multi-faceted kitty who didn’t let being born different cramp his style one bit. Our little inspiration for the day.

Sierra, The Three-Legged Dog

Posted on by Mary Shafer

Found a great post about a brave girl named Sierra, who lost one of her back legs to cancer. Her parents were pretty freaked out at first, but soon Sierra taught them all the meaning of getting over it and getting on with life. So much like the critters we wrote about in Almost Perfect!

In fact, it appears they discovered our little book, since it got a blurb in the middle of this post. But what’s really great about this piece is all the really sound info it gives for others who may be struggling with difficult choices — adjustments that might have to be made, options for critter wheelchairs — and what it really means to share your life with a disabled pet.

Read on, and see what you think!

Sparky Finds A Home

Posted on by Mary Shafer

At one time, Sparky the black & white dachshund was trapped in Nowheresville — a shelter dog with few prospects for any kind of a quality life. After all, who would choose a deaf dachshund from among all the other animals without special needs?

But then he was chosen to be trained in a prisoner rehab program in a Missouri state correctional facility. And instead of being returned to the shelter, Sparky was given to the Missouri School for the Deaf. And there he is thriving, among students and faculty who see him as something of a mascot.

This is his story, yet another one proving that home is where the heart is, that the families we choose are often more comfortable than the ones we’re born into, and that in return for the extra care they require, special needs pets often give back far more than we invest. Enjoy.