Nov 03, 2022

Why Do I Rescue So Many Special Needs Pets?

Galina Garusova, Veterinary Nurse in the Oncology Department Garden State Veterinary Specialists

It all began when I decided to foster a quadriplegic Yorkie. Simon stole my heart and created in me an understanding of special needs pets. Even though he cannot walk or even move his limbs much, he has a full life, with lots of love and entertainment. Living with Simon taught me to understand the different sounds he makes for different things that he requires; it also has brought to my attention how much caring for special needs pets is in demand – which explains why I have so many.  It is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, and it takes away from family life, vacations and social life as well.  

Here is a glimpse into my daily routine: I get up at 4:25 am to be at work a little before 7 am. I live 25 minutes away. As soon as the alarm rings, all walking dogs go outside, then I follow with Simon in the wheelchair for his morning potty. Logan, a 40-pound husky with severe Cerebellum hypoplasia, must be walked by me. Then everyone gets fed and medicated, if needed. Simon gets physical therapy. Once all chores are done, I have 15 minutes to drink coffee and go through my emails, then shower, and I am off to work. I get to work before my shift to set up animals that come with me for continuous care throughout the day. Once my shift is over and I get home, I do it all over again. My animals always come first before myself or my family’s needs. I am thankful for my understanding and patient husband, and my understanding bosses. I have non-walking dogs, dogs that walk abnormally, I have blind dogs, I take hospice dogs. My life revolves around those that need me. However, I live a full life, I am happy with what I do, and I do take staycations and go out and have fun.

Now here is why I do what I do. The special needs pets are pets just like all the normal ones. They may not walk, see, hear or be otherwise impaired, but they love you the same, if not more than the able animals. During their intensive and at times physically and emotionally draining care, I form such a deep bond and connection with them that it almost gives me a spiritual high to watch them improve and thrive in my care, as well as knowing that at least for that pet I have made a difference. In the short time that I have been rescuing special needs, I have learned that there are not a lot of people willing to take on the responsibility and the heartache that comes with it. I wish more people would. I am blessed that I work in a place that allows me access to a variety of specialists and equipment, and doctors and nurses that are willing to help. I would not be able to do what I do without them.