For many people, it’s difficult to look at an animal with disabilities and feel prepared to address its particular needs. The care can be daunting, especially if the person doesn’t have the experience or knowledge necessary.
But when your beloved pet becomes ill or gets injured, you stick with it. Through good times and bad, you are their caretaker and you learn what you have to in order to do the best you can for the creatures you’re responsible for.
Rex is a German shepherd mix whose owners did not share that sentiment. In March 2019, he was discovered abandoned in a field in Ohio. He was paralyzed and clearly, his former owners had decided not to deal with that and instead let nature take its course.
The Pickaway County Dog Shelter was notified of the dog and went to pick him up. They knew that Rex would need a little more TLC than most of their charges, and stretched as thin as they were, it would be difficult for them to provide the one-on-one care he desperately needed in order to shine.
They also knew that Rex needed wheels to even have a chance of being adopted, so they contacted Noel and John Lizotte, who distribute pet wheelchairs.
The Lizottes got their start with their own dog, a border collie named Ranger, who needed a wheelchair. After seeing how expensive the dog wheelchairs were, and how people had a hard time providing for their needy pets, they decided on their mission.
As their website “Rescued Rollers: Wheelchairs for Dogs” reads, their goal is to “give free or low-cost pet wheelchairs to animal rescue organizations, shelters, and individuals who otherwise cannot afford them.”
“Inspired by our experiences with Ranger, our own handicapped Border Collie, we know about the high cost of new wheelchairs and the difficulty of finding an affordable alternative,” the page states.
“For about $70, we can clean, sanitize, refurbish/repair and ship a donated wheelchair to those in need. We also offer educational programs to the public to teach them how to care for their special needs and senior dogs.”
So the Lizottes showed up at the Pickaway shelter and got Rex outfitted with his new wheels before getting ready to leave — but Rex had other plans. Despite his wheels and disability, he tried to jump up in their truck and go home with them.
What dog lover could resist such a sign? Obviously, the pup ended up with the Lizottes.
“Something with Rex just clicked,” John Lizotte told WFLA. “So we brought him home, and he’s doing fantastic.
“We’re gonna get him some medical care and some ongoing therapy. And we’re glad to have him.
“He’s just wonderful — he fits. He’s a love dog. He helps however we need to work with him — he’s fantastic. We got saved just as much as he did when we brought him home.”
Lizotte also emphasized that Rex was an intelligent dog and that dogs are worthy of time, effort and care — even when the workload is more than the average person might expect.
“This guy right here is wicked smart,” Lizotte said in a video from The Columbus Dispatch. “To put them down because they have a disability … that just doesn’t sit well with me.
“Our little motto is to get them mobilized not euthanized. They’re just different. They’re not ‘less’ than a regular dog.”
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