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The great thing about being involved with animal rescues is that you can foster or adopt just about any type of animal. Not only are there rescues and rehabilitative facilities for cats, dogs, and wildlife, but there are also more specialized rescues. These organizations are comprised of people who take in the more difficult cases – the animals that shelters often deem “unadoptable.”

These are the cats and dogs who cannot hear, see, or walk without assistance. Some have a contagious disease that may shorten their lifespan, or in some cases, the animals are just old. Senior dogs are often not adopted out because people don’t see them as a good “investment” and want to adopt an animal that will potentially be with the family for several years. Dogs that require wheels to get around can be intimidating to families unfamiliar with their disability. Cats with feline leukemia, a highly contagious disease among cats, can happily live many years and are often kept in the company of other FeLV cats.

Most of these animals get around just as easily as “normal” pets and they certainly are just as deserving of a forever home with soft beds and warm hearts. Here are seven animal rescues that specialize in adopting out pets with disabilities.

1. Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary

Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary (OFSDS)  seeks out foster and adoptive families for older dogs who are usually some of the first to be euthanized in our shelters. OFSDS knows that more mature dogs are sometimes harder to get settled in, but once they are comfortable, they make wonderful, loving additions to the family.

7 Awesome Special-Needs Animal Rescues You Should Know AboutGeoff Livingston/Flickr

2. Old Dog Haven

Old Dog Haven has been around since 2004 and relies on a network of foster homes instead of using of a central facility. These dogs have been rescued from near-certain death at animal shelters and are happily living out their lives with foster and adopted families.

7 Awesome Special-Needs Animal Rescues You Should Know AboutNomadic Lass/Flickr

3. Deaf Dogs Rock

Deaf Dogs Rock all started with little Nitro, a deaf white boxer puppy who was dumped. Two years later they are rocking hard, promoting the adoption and training of deaf dogs all over the country, while also educating the public about the  care of deaf dogs.

7 Awesome Special-Needs Animal Rescues You Should Know AboutJens Aarstein Holm/Flickr

4. Blind Dog Rescue Alliance

Blind Dog Rescue Alliance helps blind and visually impaired shelter dogs all throughout the United States and Canada. They have rescued over 400 blind dogs since their inception in 2009 and are going strong, working to adopt out blind dogs and assist owners of blind dogs.

7 Awesome Special-Needs Animal Rescues You Should Know AboutOrin Zebest/Flickr

5. Marley’s Cat Tales

Marley’s Cat Tales is a cat rescue dedicated to stopping the cycle of retroviruses like FeLV (feline leukemia) and FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) by educating the public and promoting awareness. Not only does this rescue provide a second chance for the kitties to be adopted out, but they also have their own sanctuary where the cats can live out the rest of their lives together in the company of other FeLV and FIV positive cats. And all this because of a wonderful cat named Marley.

7 Awesome Special-Needs Animal Rescues You Should Know AboutMarley’s Cat Tales

6. Special Needs Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation (SNARR)

SNARR was started in St. Martinville, LA and focuses on saving a myriad of dogs with adoptability issues. Everything from deafness and blindness, severe medical conditions, emaciation and aggression cause these dogs to be labeled as “the animals nobody wants.” These are the dogs that don’t make it out of shelters alive until SNARR shows up!

7 Awesome Special-Needs Animal Rescues You Should Know AboutSNARR

7. Pets With Disabilities

Pets With Disabilities in Prince Frederick, MD sums it up nicely right there on their website with the phrase, “because their spirits aren’t broken.” Shelters may view these dogs who are blind, deaf, or in need of a wheelchair as unadoptable, but PWD has been rescuing and adopting out these loving babies for ten years.

7 Awesome Special-Needs Animal Rescues You Should Know AboutPets With Disabilities

Lending a Hand to Special Needs Pets

This is a small selection of the many wonderful animal rescues out there that are fighting every day to save special needs cats and dogs from shelters and get them safely placed in loving foster and forever homes. To learn more about these types of rescues and how to find one near you, please visit All Dog Welcome, Special Needs Pets, and The Senior Dogs Project.

There are a few things you should consider before choosing to foster or adopt a special needs pet. But, if you decide you’re up to the challenge, you will be lucky enough to be loved by a very special pet!

Image source: GRVO TV/Flickr