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8 Disabled Animals That Triumphed Over Adversity

Like humans, animals are prone to birth defects and devastating accidents that leave them disabled. What’s incredible about all creatures (including mankind) is their ability to thrive despite their challenges and survive against all odds. These 8 animals are inspirations not just to those with disabilities, but to everyone who's faced a seemingly impossible challenge.

1. Faith

By now, most people who have been on the internet for more than a week are at least somewhat familiar with Faith and her inspirational story. In case you don’t know the whole tale though, Faith was born with two rear legs and one deformed front leg. Her mother tried to smother her to death, but a young boy saw this and rescued her. He brought her home to his family, who fed her and eventually trained her to hop on her rear legs using peanut butter as an incentive. Eventually, she learned to walk and run.

Since then, Faith has gained quite a bit of attention for her ability to survive and thrive against all odds and she has even appeared on Oprah, Montel Williams, Animal Attractions Television and Ripley’s Believe it or Not. She has her own website and MySpace page, and her owner even wrote two books about her struggle, With a Little Faith and Faith Alone.

2. Hoopa

Most dog wheelchairs are designed to help pets who can’t use their back legs. Faith worked around this problem by learning to hop her hind legs, but Hoopa was only able to push himself forward and slide around the floor. Even so, he was still an active and happy puppy, so his owner was inspired to hire a design student friend to create a new type of wheelchair just for Hoopa. Student Nir Shalom designed a wheel prostheses that has allowed Hoopa to run around on his training wheels the same way any other puppy will cruise around with his owner.

3. Chase

Many Flossers will remember Chase because she has been featured on mental_floss before in Miss Cellania’s article on blogging cats and her list of famous felines. After an accident in her childhood, Chase was injured and lost one of her legs, along with the majority of the skin on her face, including her eyelids. Chase is the star of her own blog, Daily Tails of Chase, and she works as a therapy cat for persons with disabilities for Paws For Friendship. She is very encouraging to children with disabilities and she "hopes to help other humans feel just as great about themselves and realize that not everyone looks perfect and that is OK."

4. Rowan

Being born blind is difficult no matter what your species, but just as teenager Ben Underwood has used echolocation to navigate his world, so has a German Spitz from the UK. Rowan was born without eyes, but he still gets around quite well using echolocations from his barks.

5. Daisy

She just might be the Helen Keller of the dog world. Born deaf and blind, Daisy has had to learn to navigate through the world with only her senses of smell and touch to guide her. After being given up by her first family and her foster family, Daisy started to distrust humans. When the Faresh family of Studio City took her in, they had a lot of work ahead of them.

To help her get around her new surroundings, the family baby-proofed everything and added foam to the corners of the walls to cushion Daisy when she inevitably crashed into them. Eventually the dog learned to trust them and started to feel comfortable enough to explore her new surroundings, even traveling up the stairs.

Helping Daisy taught the family about the special needs of many human adults and children. They started using the pup as a therapy dog to inspire others and Maryam Faresh even keeps a website about Daisy and has self-published her own children’s book about their pet called What About Daisy.

6. Kelly Anne

A few years ago, Kelly Anne was chased up a tree by a dog and was somehow electrocuted in the process. The veterinary staff had to work fast to save her life and ended up having to amputate the cat’s four legs as a result. While she can’t bathe herself or use a litter box, she can still get around on her shoulders. The clinic’s staff pets and bathes her and she is able to use wee-wee pads. She seems pretty happy despite her handicap and she even caught a mouse once.

Although the clinic has received a number of adoption requests for the kitten, they are holding out for an owner who is fully prepared to tend to her special needs.

7. Coal

In a few more years, Kelly Anne may not have to crawl on her stumps anymore, thanks to Coal’s experience. After losing a leg in a battle against cancer, vets said Coal would probably have to be put down because his other legs would not be able to support his weight. His owner, Reg Walker, was determined to keep his friend alive and sought out any form of treatment he could find. Eventually, Reg found a solution, through “bionic vet” Noel Fitzpatrick, but it wasn’t cheap. The treatment would cost around $15,000. Even so, he gladly paid the money and Coal was given a bionic leg that worked with his skin.

Only one other surgery of this type had been performed up to this point and Coal’s treatment may eventually be used to help treat human amputees.

8. Oscar

Oscar lost his rear legs in a harvester and because he lost so much blood, his owners were told to expect the worst. But it wasn’t his injuries that made him notable, it was his recovery—Oscar was the first cat to ever get prosthetic legs. Noel Fitzpatrick used the same procedure as the one used on Coal, but he had to adapt it to a double amputee feline.

During the three hour surgery, holes were drilled into the remaining portion of his legs and then special implants were attached. Once the implants healed, the vet was able to attach special foot prostheses.
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If you have the space in your heart and room in your home, a disabled pet can make a great companion that will improve your life as much as you improve his or hers. Have any of you ever had a disabled animal? How did they overcome their challenges?

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Smart Shopping
15 Funny Novelty Toys For Pets
iStock
iStock

Want to get your pet a toy that shares your interests? These cute and amusing novelty creations will provide your dog or cat (and you) with plenty of entertainment, and your human friends will appreciate their strong pun game. And, they're great inspiration for funny Instagram photos.

1. STARBARKS COFFEE; $12

Starbarks Coffee DogToy
Amazon

If your dog loves going to Starbucks for a puppuccino, order a grande Starbarks Frenchie Roast so they can get their fix every day.

Find It: Amazon

2. EXCALIGRRR SWORD; $14

ExcaliGRRR Sword dog toy
BarkShop

This chew toy is worth it just to repeat the "Knights of the Hound Table" and "King Arfur" jokes that BarkShop suggests.

Find It: BarkShop

3. THE BARK POST; $10

newspaper dog toy
BarkShop

Did you know that dogs prefer print media? After all, you can't shred the internet. This newspaper toy is printed with real dog articles from BarkShop's blog, BarkPost.

Find It: BarkShop

4. CAT NIP TEA BAG; $4

cat nip tea bag toy
Etsy

If your ideal Sunday involves lounging on the couch with a good book, a cup of tea, and your cat at your feet, get your kitten its very own tea bag. This handmade toy is filled with organic cat nip and comes in four different ribbon patterns.

Find It: Etsy

5. LICK-CROIX BARKLING WATER; $14

LaCroix dog toy
GlamourMutt

If your dog loves to ride in your cart while you shop at Whole Foods, get him his own can of LaCroix-inspired Lick-Croix Barkling Water (Pamplemutt flavor, of course). Cheers!

Find It: GlamourMutt

6. HUMUNGA TONGUE; $11

Humunga Tongue dog toy
Amazon

This giant tongue with a ball on the end will make for tons of silly photos. Just make sure you buy the right size for your pooch.

Find It: Amazon

7. DOGGO DOGGO BILLS, Y'ALL; $8

stack of bills dog toy
BarkShop

Have you already spoiled your dog with every fancy bed, jacket, and toy imaginable? Maybe with a stack of money, they can learn to finance their own doggo lifestyle. In addition to squeaking, the toy crinkles just like crisp dollar bills.

Find It: BarkShop

8. RUCKSACK; $10

Rucksack dog toy
BarkShop

Does your pup love the great outdoors? This rucksack is perfect for his travels around the yard—just don't let him chase any cars while carrying it!

Find It: BarkShop

9. BOOM BOX; $11

boom box dog toy
BarkShop

When your dog picks up this boom box, he'll look like he's ready to party—or make a grand romantic gesture à la Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything.

Find It: BarkShop

10. CHEWY VUITON HANDBAG; $10

Chewy Vuiton dog toy
Amazon

This Chewy Vuiton purse is perfect for any fashionable doggies, even if they're named Gucci, Prada, or Dolce.

Find It: Amazon

11. TAKEOUT DUMPLINGS; $16

Dog with plush dumpling toys
BarkShop

If your fur baby begs for a bite every time you order in, get them their own "meal" of plush dumplings, complete with a Chinese takeout box replica.

Find It: BarkShop

12. IBONE; $17

iBone Plush Dog Toy
Amazon

Does your dog feel left out when you're Snapchatting or playing Candy Crush? Get him his own "iBone," so you can each stare at your phones in peace.

Find It: Amazon

13. VANDERPUMP SANGRIA; $17

Vanderpump sangria dog toy
GlamourMutt

It's not drinking alone if your dog is drinking with you! Get your overly pampered pooch a bottle of Lisa Vanderpump-branded sangria in pink or red, and settle in for a night of looking for Giggy or Rumpy Pumpy appearances on RHOBH or Vanderpump Rules.

Find It: GlamourMutt

14. CATNIP BANANA PEEL; $7

Your kitty will be tripping all over itself to get ahold of this organic catnip-filled banana peel. And perhaps it can serve as a reminder to increase your own daily fruit intake.

Find It: Etsy

15. ERNESTO THE FISH TACO; FROM $10

fish taco dog toy
BarkShop

Not all beaches allow dogs to bask in the sun, but that shouldn't stop your pup from enjoying a giant fish taco.

Find It: BarkShop

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Catio Spaces
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Animals
A 'Catio' Gives Your Indoor Cat a Taste of Nature
Catio Spaces
Catio Spaces

Cats usually fall into one of two categories: outdoor or indoor. Now, a company based in Seattle is working to erase the boundaries between these groups. As PureWow reports, Catio Spaces sells plans for outdoor enclosures that allow your feline companions to enjoy being in nature without wandering too far from home.

Each Catio is designed to be made from a wooden frame, escape-proof wiring, and cedar shelves for cats to lounge on. The boxes can attach to a window or door leading outside, allowing your cat to wander in and out without putting itself in harm's way (or posing a threat to wildlife).

"Cats naturally want to be outside where they can breathe fresh air and experience the sights, sounds and stimulation of the natural world," the Catio Spaces website reads. "A catio, an outdoor cat enclosure or 'cat patio,' is the purrfect solution to solve the indoor/outdoor dilemma."

Plans for DIY catios you can assemble at home range in price from $40 to $70 (materials not included). You can order and download yours today, with 10 percent of your purchase price going to an animal welfare organization.

Patio for cats.
Catio Spaces

Cats in cat patio.
Catio Spaces

[h/t PureWow]

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