An increasing number of people are adopting pets with disabilities, writes Sriya Narayanan

When Sudhersena, a volunteer at the cat section of the Blue Cross is asked if her handicapped felines have difficulty navigating, she bursts into peals of laughter and narrates an instance when a three-legged cat repeatedly outran her when she was trying to catch him for his vaccination. She observes that they adapt beautifully to their disabilities and make great companions.

Sudhersena adopted her first handicapped cat Tiger when he came to Blue Cross with a crushed hind leg that was later amputated. She remembers feeling rather nervous about the adoption – that was four years ago. Today,

Tiger rules her house along with her other handicapped cat Bunny who was brought to the shelter when he lost a front leg in an accident. Sudhersena reveals Tiger is a die-hard foodie and Bunny is a total clown, and that the two courageous cats are as affectionate as her non-handicapped pets. She recommends that disabled cats be kept indoors for their own safety, and finds her relationship with these special animals particularly satisfying.

Veterinarian Dr. Priyadarshini Govind believes that all it takes is time and understanding from the adopting family. “Dogs can survive very well with three legs in both apartments and independent houses – even handicapped dogs can be agile”, she says. “They have probably already accommodated themselves to using three legs, so it’s easy to look after them”. Her advice for people who are adopting such animals is that they communicate frequently with veterinarians or people who have experience with this, so as to understand the pet’s special needs and ensure that they are being met.

Vidya Kumaran describes her experience of adopting a handicapped pup Chucky from Blue Cross as a truly rewarding one. She and her husband Nithin Thekkumpurath adopted a 7-week-old pup whose hind legs were disabled.

With veterinary care and surgery, Chucky became an active, spirited puppy who now climbs several flights of stairs with ease.

“We shower her with love, so she’s actually quite spoilt”, laughs Vidya.

“She leads a very normal life and even comes with us on holidays. It’s been a fantastic journey”. With an increase in traffic accidents, the city has seen a spurt in the number of homeless animals that are handicapped. Fortunately for them, adoptions too are on the rise and more families are opening up their hearts to these cats and dogs.

One such couple is Sathya Radhakrishnan and his wife Bidisha Banerjee. “All the pets I’ve had so far have been handicapped in one way or the other”, says Sathya who’s a management member at Blue Cross. He has two three-legged cats named Don 2 and Princess, and has just adopted a two-legged cat named Angel. All three cats dote on his 8-year-old son Maayuk who considers them members of his family. He finds their resilience humbling and hopes that every handicapped animal experiences the joy of adoption. “They need homes – not just shelters”, he says.  Sathya finds that pets like this are ideal for apartments as they don’t require much space and are content to stay indoors. He signs off with what he admires most about these furry heroes - “Despite what they’ve gone through, the love they give you is unconditional. And their affection for people does not diminish… not even a little”.

To adopt a handicapped pet from Blue Cross, call Sathya Radhakrishnan at 9789096602

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