All dogs are beautiful. It doesn’t matter if they have special needs, permanent scars, or untraditional features, they are still precious creatures that deserve to be cherished. One dog, named Walter, was overlooked and left behind at a shelter. The reasons why the dog was overlooked (many times) broke a certain animal lover’s heart. The animal lover, a woman named Gabby, was already at the shelter rescuing another dog when she was called over by a volunteer to meet Walter.
The volunteer said, “Hey Gabby, you’ve got to see this dog!” The volunteer knew that Gabby rescued dogs with special needs and thought she might be able to help Walter find a forever home. As soon as Gabby laid eyes on the unique pup, she knew he was anything but ordinary. She had never seen a dog that was this skinny or had such a pronounced underbite. He also had obvious deformities to his legs and spine. Gabby didn’t care. She wanted to hold Walter and introduce herself.
Gabby understood that Walter wasn’t just distinctive and special to her, she also realized the cold hard truth. Walter would be very hard to place because of his special needs and he’d either languish in the shelter for a long time or be put down. Most people cringed when they passed by Walter’s kennel. Many folks thought the dog was just plain ugly. But not Gabby! She thought he was perfect.
The kind-hearted woman knew right there that she had to take Walter home and adopt him herself. Gabby easily overlooked the dog’s “flaws.” To her, Walter was flawless. It didn’t matter that he didn’t look like other dogs or that he wouldn’t live a long life; all that mattered was that he was capable of love and Gabby was capable of giving him a good life.
Walter has a rare genetic condition called mucopolysaccharidosis, also known as MPS VI. Sadly, it is a terminal progressive disorder. But even though Walter could not have a long life, it doesn’t mean he couldn’t have a good life. When Walter went home with Gabby, she could see right away that he’s extraordinary. He’s happy all the time. He’s determined to walk (and even try to run) as much as possible. Even though it’s hard on his body to get around, not much stopped Walter. And Gabby loved that!
First, when Walter came home, Gabby focused on physical therapy in a small kiddie pool. Walter loved it. And the water strengthened his body tremendously. Then it was time to take on the yard. Walter didn’t let anything slow him down, especially walking as fast as he could to get to his mother who cheered him on the whole time.
Gabby attributes her bond with Walter to her father who passed away from Multiple Sclerosis. She explains, in the video below, that at the end of her dad’s life, he was also disabled but remained very strong. This gave Gabby a whole new perspective on people and animals who face such adversities yet exhibit such tenacity. Seeing Walter and his positive attitude reminded Gabby of her father. Her dad was the exact same way.
This story is truly special– and the video below showcases Walter and Gabby’s journey beautifully. We urge you to take a beat out of your busy day and watch it. Once you do, you’ll want to share it with friends and family so they understand that ALL CREATURES deserve a happy life no matter what! Don’t you agree?
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