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