Celebrating Specially-Abled Pets! Video & Stories

May 3rd was National Specially-Abled Pets Day, which celebrates disabled pets, helps to educate the public about caring for disabled pets, and helps to find homes for orphaned, specially-abled pets. Throughout May we have been celebrating these amazing and heroic pets on our Facebook page!

Click on the video link below to watch a video about these pets and continue to scroll down for their stories.

To all the families that have a specially-abled animal in their life: A pet with special needs will inspire you to be a special kind of person. Thank you for all you do!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox

Photo slideshow created with Smilebox


Sweet Sydney loves everything! She is the happiest dog her family has ever met.

She had a rough start and was abandoned. For a couple of years she lived in a pen with occasional walks outside the pen. Her previous family had a horse stable business and they felt this was for her safety because Sydney is deaf. But her past is behind her!

She now has a wonderful family who adore her. They are a great team, communicating by hand signals. Sydney loves to run around off-leash with her family, and she takes long walks in the woods where there are no cars. And she LOVES to ride in the car. She just loves to be included in everything. We agree - she is such a happy dog!


Meet Manwich Franklin, a turbo cat on 3 legs!

"This 2012 model feline is a marvel of aerodynamic precision with superior cornering capabilities. His road-hugging design and 3-claw drive provide exceptional handling performance allowing him to navigate the tightest turns around and over furniture (and his sisters). With acceleration capabilities from zero to crazy in 2 seconds flat, he leaves the competition wide-eyed and meowless! His pawsitraction rear end is second to none. The skid marks he leaves on the white carpet are oh so impressive. Thank God for Nature's Miracle...”

When asked for a quote for this article, Manwich Franklin simply said, "Tell all those 4-legged models they can eat my dust bunnies!"  (Manwich's mom, Cindy)

Asheville Humane Society brought Manwich Franklin to AHNA as a severely injured but adorable kitten. He had been hit by a car and had multiple injuries including a broken right rear leg, an extremely large hernia (muscle tear allowing the abdominal organs into a space under the skin), and a dislocated carpus (wrist). This terribly injured little guy was such a sweet boy, purring through all of his exams and procedures. Of course, the hospital staff fell in love with this brave boy, but one particular person, Cindy, was smitten! Click Here to read more about Manwich's amazing recovery!


Introducing Possum! A very special cat who never gave up.

Possum was found abandoned at a very young age, only 4 or 5 weeks old, and was brought into AHNA. She was such a little thing. Possum was named by Beth, one of our very caring nurses. Not only did she catch the attention of our staff, but she also found her forever home. When Karen (Mick's lovely wife) stopped in to see Mick (one of our awesome exam room team members), she also met Possum and it was love at first sight!

Possum was a very special kitten; she was born without any eyes, and she battled pneumonia for six months. It was so severe that she had to come in to AHNA for daily breathing treatments. Dr. Wootten and Melvin, who was an amazing tech and nurse, cared for her during this time to help her return to health.

Possum and her family never gave up! Possum wanted to be a kitten and play! She finally recovered from the pneumonia and has not slowed down since.

Possum lives a very active life. She has a best friend named Peanut, a Chihuahua, who at first could not stand to have a kitten in the house. But Possum was persistent and wore him down and now they are inseparable! Possum chases Peanut around the house. They do not miss an opportunity to mooch together. She tests the furniture by clawing it (or "redecorating" as a lot of cats say). It is definitely true love for Possum and her family.

Click Here to read Possum's full story.


Meet Miss Babka - cuteness overload!

Babka is just over 4 months old and is full of puppy goodness. She loves everyone (and we are pretty sure everyone who meets her is smitten with her too!)

Babka was diagnosed with a medical condition called megaesophagus. This condition can be a congenital defect or acquired as an adult. Megaesophagus is a condition in which the muscles of the esophagus lose their tone and are no longer able to propel food into the stomach. When megaesophagus occurs the esophagus dilates, or enlarges, due to the lack of muscle tone. This causes food to sit in the esophagus, unable to continue into the stomach to be digested. Regurgitation is the most common side effect.

The main treatment method for this condition is lifestyle management. Every time Babka eats or drinks her front end has to be elevated for at least 10 minutes to allow the food or drink to make its way to the stomach. Feeding tends to consist of small and frequent meals.

Babka's family has done an amazing job in structuring Babka's life so that she does not have to miss out on the fun of being a puppy. Instead of training with treats, they praise and use play as her reward. She is incredibly smart and full of life.

"It was devastating when we learned that Babka (only 3 months old at the time) had been diagnosed with megaesophagus, but she doesn’t know anything is wrong. She still plays with her brother (a 16-year-old cat), gets into trouble just like any other puppy, loves a sunbath and has lots of fun on outings. We feel blessed to have such a special dog.

“These photos show how we feed Babka. The Kong filled with frozen food is tied above her head so she has to extend her neck. After eating or drinking anything, we hold her vertically or she sits in the papoose for 10-15 minutes."- Allison (Babka’s amazing and dedicated mom!)


It is our pleasure to introduce you to Miss Samantha Ann Marie (Sam).

Sam was adopted from the Asheville Humane Society four years ago this past August. She had cataracts, but in the spring of 2013 she developed glaucoma. Sam's family tried to manage the glaucoma with medication but the pressure and pain in her eye grew too great. The decision was made to do an enucleation surgery (removal of the eye) to relieve the pressure and offer Sam a better quality of life. She did great with surgery.

Not only was Samantha the flower girl in her human parent's wedding, but she loves to play tug and be goofy in the mornings. Sam and her family will be celebrating her 2 year "Negative Eye-versary" on July 2nd. She is a happy and active dog with a great sense of humor. She is also a fashionable supermodel with both of her human parents wrapped around her little paw. Way to go Samantha!


We would like to introduce you to Link. He is truly an amazing cat!

"The day I brought Link home from surgery, I was terribly worried about him.... until I opened the door of his carrier and he bolted out and straight up to his favorite spot on top of the couch! Most people don't even realize he's missing a leg. He can play with the dog, swat at the kids’ heads as they pass underneath his perch on the chair, and leap fences to get where he wants to go. He hasn't once been slowed down and he's an amazing and feisty guy!"- Alisha

Click Here to read Link's full story and see him move around only 3 days after surgery.


Meet Sweet Shiloh.

Shiloh was found in Charlotte as a stray. Due to a previous injury that didn’t heal correctly, he needed his rear leg amputated. His family fell in love with him and he has been an amazing addition to their lives. Shiloh hasn’t looked back since the amputation. He is full of love and brings joy to his family every single day.

"We love him!" - From his family.



Jazmyn is one of the sweetest and happiest pups around. We first met Jazmyn after she was hit by a car. She suffered several injuries including a broken jaw and a brachial plexus avulsion on her front right leg. A brachial plexus avulsion is basically an overextension of the joint with tearing of the nerves in this area. This is an injury that is hard to heal and unfortunately the pet may never regain full use of the leg.

After a period of time to see if the leg would heal, the decision was made to amputate her leg so that she could have a better quality of life. Her leg made it difficult to get around, caused her pain, and hindered her movement.

Jazmyn was an amazing patient through the healing process. The day she came home after the amputation surgery, she was up and about. She felt better without the leg! She stays active with her housemates and her family feels so lucky to have such a wonderful, happy dog in their lives.


Like most 7-month-old kittens, Tiger is full of life and into everything. Tiger was abandoned on his family's porch as a very young kitten. He was so tiny his family had to bottle feed him.

At the age of 18 weeks, while rubbing his face, he accidentally caught his eye with his dewclaw and punctured the globe. His family acted quickly and brought him in to AHNA. After a thorough exam, it was recommended that the eye be removed to reduce pain and complications. Since the surgery, he hasn’t slowed down. His family says he races around the house, has incredible jumping ability and is extremely playful. The loss of the eye has not changed his life. Tiger is always looking for his next adventure.


Meet Miss Pearl! She will steal your heart in no time flat!

"My favorite car trip with Mommy is to the Animal Hospital of North Asheville. I get so excited - I start dreaming about cookie biscuits. I think about Aunt Norma and Aunt Dorothy laughing at my antics. I begin to wiggle all over knowing Dr. Paul is going to give me lots of attention.

“My name is Pearl. I am deaf. I am a rescued boxer. My boxer brothers are my ears. My human parents talk to me in sign language. As the alpha dog, I patrol the yard, chase squirrels, watch for bears, toss nuts and play with my brothers. I don't hear, but I love to be mischievous, make people laugh, and share my story with you." - Pearl

Miss Pearl was adopted from a Boxer Rescue in Georgia when she was about 16-months-old. She was found almost dead in Knoxville, malnourished, with horrible skin, and deaf. With love, time, and care she returned to a healthy and extremely happy boxer. She has a wonderful family, which includes 2 cats and 2 boxer brothers.

Pearl has the biggest personality and is so full of love. Rarely do you see her boxer butt stop wiggling! You cannot stop smiling when you meet her. She just loves people! She responds to her family when they communicate with her through hand signals. When you meet her, you would never know that she is deaf. She has 2 speeds - full speed and off. Pearl keeps her brothers in line. As she said above, she LOVES to chase squirrels, will bark at everything and loves to come to AHNA (why not, she has everyone here wrapped around her paw!)

Here are a few photos of Pearl: her mom calls her “Pearl at Prayer” when she has her nose tucked in her paws. She isn’t shy about getting comfortable when she naps. And we didn’t want leave out her two big brothers Keebler and Bryson.


"She is my heart"- Bindi's mom

This is such a beautiful sentiment by Bindi's family but once you meet her you instantly understand. She is an amazing little pup.

She was such a little thing when she joined her family. She had a lot of eye problems when she was little. She had congenital KCS in the right eye, meaning there is deficient tear production. She developed a corneal ulcer or abrasion in this eye because of the dryness. She was unresponsive to the normal medical treatment we do for this condition and we could not control her discomfort, so we made the decision to remove the eye by enucleation. She was a trouper through the whole treatment.

This February she started showing intermittent bouts of pain. Initially it was difficult to localize the source. It was finally narrowed down primarily to her cervical or neck region and she was referred for further evaluation by a neurology specialist as we thought it could be an intervertebral disk problem. She was seen by specialists at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Tennessee and she was diagnosed with GME, which is inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. She is currently going through chemotherapy and doing great. She not only has the love and support of the hospital but of her amazing family.

Bindi has a special ability to make everyone smile when she comes to the hospital. She has one of the most impressive wardrobes around. She is always wearing the cutest of outfits. She not only has a great fashion sense, she is the love of her family. She loves to take naps with her dad. When she is not napping, they are out cruising around. She has done all this and has had the best spirit for only being 2 1/2 years old. We are so honored to be able to share her amazing story.


Lottie is a special little beagle who slipped out of her collar while she was in foster care and was missing for a month. The whole community looked for her, and finally found her with the help of the Biltmore Forest police department. Unfortunately, during her time missing, a car hit her and X-rays showed that she had a severely fractured ankle and pelvis. She had also been shot with buckshot. It was determined that amputation of her injured leg was necessary. While recovering at AHNA after her amputation surgery, she found her forever family. Client care team member Amber, along with her partner, Vicki, fell in love with Lottie. She joined her new family (which included another beagle and a bluetick coonhound!). With the love of her new family she has blossomed into the best little beagle! 

Lottie was formerly known as Meesha - visit our blog to read her full story.


Sweet Sydney loves the world. She adores people, especially kids. She is incredibly gentle with them and lights up when the neighborhood kids stop by to visit her. She was adopted from a breeder and brought home when she was just a fuzzy bundle of puppy goodness. Over the years she suffered with chronic ear issues, which eventually caused her to need surgery to remove her ear canals. She is now deaf.

Sydney’s family communicates with her through hand signals. You would never know that she is hearing impaired when you meet her. Even the bears that travel through her yard don’t know it! She is always on ‘bear patrol’ at her house. Sydney is a petite pup with a big heart and an even bigger spirit for life. 

Chester and Jackson

Chester and Jackson are the best of friends. Both were rescued as puppies from tough situations. Chester and Jackson hit the jackpot when they were adopted and now live a wonderful life together with their family! 

Lulu and Ellie

Introducing the dynamic duo: Ellie and Lulu!

Ellie and Lulu came into the Thompson's lives at different times. Both dogs are front leg amputees. With love, care and patience both dogs have blossomed and are full of life and happiness. 

"We found it remarkable just how depressed they were as a result of losing everything familiar to them and suffering such extreme injuries. They were quite different in how they coped. Ellie had extreme separation anxiety from me and Lulu just shut down her emotions. So they had completely opposite reactions. Ellie was extremely affectionate and would not let me out of her sight, and Lulu showed almost no affection in the beginning. But look at them now! Ellie can happily stay home alone and Lulu wiggles and wags and loves sleeping in our bed. They are so happy and they give us endless joy!" 

"We have had many wonderful dogs through years but have never had a ball-crazy dog. Now we have two and we love it." - Dr Betsy.

Miss Ellie loves to play ball and she doesn't let her missing leg stop her! Her favorite is chasing golf balls that Dr. Thompson tosses. They are quite the team. She is so excited going after the ball, she now has a classic move: The Ellie somersault! Here is a video of her in action! Way to go Ellie!


Recently Roy's life changed when he went blind. He has the amazing support and love of his family as they go through this transition time.