Meet our March calendar dog, Odie! Odie's mom tells us all about her incredible pup. Odie's eight years old this November. His Mum is an American Bull Dog, a rescue from Cardiff Dogs' Home, where he was born. He's a sweet, gentle soul, lover of people and dogs, always seeking out cuddles. He's a favorite at the vets where he has his chemotherapy. He's known by all and makes a point of visiting all the various rooms to say hello when he arrives for his treatment. If he doesn't get your attention, he'll let you know he's there by doing a very loud whine!
Tell Us About Odie
Odie loves walks so much that we've had to come up with code words to talk about it in front of him without his little head popping up ready to go. You get a similar reaction to the word 'cheese', by the way... When it comes to toys, he goes for the classics. He's happiest with a squeaky green Kong tennis ball (the squeakier the better) and has a big collection of other dogs' abandoned balls that he's brought home from the park. He's a typical goofy Bully, often found snoring upside down with all three legs in the air, sunbathing, taking on sticks bigger than him, and he is terrified of balloons on string and other inanimate objects (lampshades, handbags, the lady's voice in the fire alarm..)
He's a real advocate for his breed. We don't know anyone who has spent five minutes with him and hasn't fallen in love. He's so persistent at loving you, he really gives you no choice!
Odie's Wheelchair Changed His Life!
Odie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma (an aggressive form of bone cancer) in January 2020. His prognosis was poor and we were told we had only around six to ten months left with him. He had his leg amputated the following week and started chemotherapy. He was doing well on three legs but suddenly went lame. It turned out that he'd torn the ligament in his remaining back leg. He wasn't a good candidate for surgery and we were heartbroken but we couldn't let him down. That's when we discovered Walkin Pets'.
It's no understatement to say that it gave him his life back. For a dog who lives for walks, this freedom was essential. Odie is still with us fighting his cancer 20 months post diagnosis. He's a champion. Without his chair though, he would have had no quality of life. It's even give his leg time to heal and rebuild some strength. He's so speedy in the chair that you can usually find us chasing him around the park!
What Would You Like People to Know About Adopting a Special Needs Dog?
It's interesting to see people's responses to Odie in his chair. I think a lot of people feel sorry for animals with special needs but what we'd say is please don't feel sad for them. Their personalities and for the most part, their lives, aren't impacted by disability. They want to be loved and treated like everyone else and they're usually little warriors.
Dogs with disabilities are excellent candidates for adoption. If you're thinking about adopting, you do need to carefully consider whether you can give them what they need and commit to them wholeheartedly. However, the adjustments we had to make to accommodate Odie's chair were relatively minor in the grand scheme of things and he's really worth every effort.
Lessons from Living With a Wheelie Dog
I've found that people's perceptions of Odie have changed since he got his wheelchair. The sad truth is that people were more likely to cross the street to avoid Odie when he had four legs - this is due simply to misinformation around larger dog breeds. Now he's out and about in his chair, he's more like a minor celebrity, loved by all. Disability disarmed our dog's breed.
He's dealt with it like a pro and was ready to love no matter how many legs he had but it's been an adjustment for us to discuss his condition every day with passersby and get used to people looking at us. We’re also always on the lookout for possible hazards for him. He gets stuck on many a lamp post and has been known to chase French Bull Dogs down holes in his chair... He doesn’t always recognize his limits, so we have to help him. On a practical level, we've learnt how to walk our dog again, emotionally, and physically. We can get the chair on and be out of the door in minutes! It's only made us love him more, if that's even possible, because we're so in awe of him.