You Are Beau­ti­ful

Meet our re­mark­able Star Dog con­test win­ners, two adorable, spe­cially-abled dogs!

Modern Dog - - CONTENTS - BY ROSE FROSEK; PHO­TOGRAPHED BY ILLONA HAUS

Meet our re­mark­able Star Dog con­test win­ner Melyssah DeVrye and her two adorable, spe­cially-abled dogs!

First off, we’d like to say how darn proud we are to be a part of an amaz­ing com­mu­nity of dog lovers. Peo­ple like our Star Dog Photo Con­test win­ner Melyssah DeVrye and her two dogs, Lucy, a two-and-half-year-old Gold­en­doo­dle, and Wheeler, a seven-year-old Sch­noo­dle, brighten our days. Their self-stated goal is to “in­spire, raise aware­ness, ed­u­cate, and just keep mak­ing some­one who des­per­ately needs it smile.” How great is that? 26-year-old Melyssah, who lives in Brad­ford, On­tario, is known as some­one who helps an­i­mals. Be­fore they came to her, both dogs were al­most eu­th­a­nized by their own­ers, who felt un­able to deal with the dogs’ dis­abil­i­ties. It is sus­pected that Lucy was dropped dur­ing or just after her spay surgery, caus­ing a spinal stroke that re­sulted paral­y­sis. Wheeler, on the other hand, was born par­a­lyzed. Nu­mer­ous peo­ple, see­ing the plight of these dogs on the In­ter­net, reached out to Melyssah to ask if she could help. She didn’t hes­i­tate to say yes—their very chal­lenges are what res­onated with Melyssah. “The fact that they're dif­fer­ent, [drew me to them] be­cause I've al­ways been seen that way by so­ci­ety. I know how un­fair it can be at times and how cruel,” she says. “I pre­fer dif­fer­ent over nor­mal.”

A big part of her mis­sion is to help peo­ple see dis­abil­ity dif­fer­ently. “We get it a lot, where peo­ple—who aren't ed­u­cated, knowl­edge­able or have per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence with these types of spe­cially-abled an­i­mals—claim dogs like them have lit­tle qual­ity of life,” says Melyssah. She’s set on dis­pelling this false no­tion. “They have very few chal­lenges; they can do what­ever they put their minds to do­ing and I refuse to baby them.”

Their care, how­ever, is time con­sum­ing, but re­ward­ing. Melyssah has to sched­ule her work hours around their needs and can’t be away from home for more than four to five hours at a time be­cause the dogs re­quire di­a­per changes and blad­der ex­press­ing. It’s costly as well. “It def­i­nitely isn't for ev­ery­one, es­pe­cially if you're not will­ing to make sac­ri­fices and work around their needs, sim­i­lar to hav­ing a child,” she cau­tions, “But animal lovers know it's noth­ing they can't han­dle.”

She’s al­ready man­aged to get sev­eral dis­abled an­i­mals adopted into for­ever homes through her blog and she “def­i­nitely, 100 per­cent yes” rec­om­mends tak­ing a chance on one: “They may be more work, but they're so in­cred­i­bly re­ward­ing. Ev­ery sin­gle day they in­spire you to do bet­ter and be bet­ter all to­gether. Who wouldn't want that?”

If you’re con­sid­er­ing adopt­ing a spe­cially-abled dog, she en­cour­ages “thor­ough re­search to make sure you're aware of their needs and are able to sac­ri­fice things in your own life to ac­com­mo­date what they re­quire. If you de­ter­mine that you're un­able to pro­vide what the animal needs then don't do it. Some­one else can and will, so don't feel bad about your de­ci­sion.”

What’s cer­tain is Melyssah’s dogs are not only happy and loved but are bring­ing joy to oth­ers as well, many of whom can re­late to their chal­lenges: “We have many peo­ple who fol­low them who are bed rid­den or re­quire an as­sis­tant de­vice to get places,” Melyssah shares. “I feel ev­ery­one can re­late to them in some way, shape or form.”

Be­yond bright­en­ing days, her goal is aware­ness. “No ques­tion about it,” she says. “I want peo­ple to fall in love with how amaz­ing these an­i­mals in the spe­cially-abled animal com­mu­nity can be. It's the best and most re­ward­ing com­mu­nity out there, in my per­sonal opin­ion.”

“Be­ing dif­fer­ent doesn't make you an out­cast or weird; it makes you stronger than ev­ery­one else. Re­mem­ber your worth; don't let oth­ers tell you oth­er­wise. You are beau­ti­ful.”

Wheeler and Lucy

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.