There is nothing like the spirit of a dog. They are eternally optimistic, unabashedly loving, and of course, endlessly loyal. Their innate need to be companions makes them resilient, bouncing back from even the most traumatic experiences when given a little love.
Despite adversity, injury, and even abuse, our pups demonstrate the meaning of living in the moment and enjoying life to the fullest. Their desire to please and can-do attitude make canines great companions to those of us with mental or physical disabilities.
Here’s how dogs teach us that no matter what life throws your way, there's a way to turn a negative into a positive!
1. They don't fixate on the past
Every dog who’s overcome abuse or neglect and become a happy-go-lucky, loving soul is nothing short of amazing. Take Herbert, the American Staffordshire rescue. In his former life, he was most likely neglected, kept confined in a locked cage. But once he moved in with his foster family, he became famous for his 100-watt smile!
2. They use their past trauma to help others
Have you heard of Smiley, the service dog? He’s a gorgeous Golden Retriever who was born blind and raised in a puppy mill. Not only does he not let his disability hold him back in life, he spreads sunshine everywhere he goes. As a therapy dog, Smiley brings joy and inspiration into the lives of humans in need.
3. They don't let anything slow them down
How fast can a three-legged dog run? In Myles’ case, about as fast (or faster!) than a four-legged dog! This adorable pup had a paralyzed front leg that was slowing him down as it dragged on the ground. But once he was relieved of the limb, there was no stopping this happy guy!
4. And being in a wheelchair doesn't mean they have to stop exploring
Check out this Pittie named Mel and his sweet set of wheels! A neurological disease made it difficult for this pooch to stay balanced, let alone explore the world around him. But after getting fitted with a special wheelchair, Mel loves to travel cross-country with his photographer dad and is always up for an adventure!
5. They show us that every person - even if they're "different - deserves to be loved
Dogs make wonderful companions for people with mental disabilities. Take Shadow, the golden retriever who belongs to a little boy named Jonathan. Living with Downs syndrome and Autism has plenty of challenges, one of them being that it’s hard for Jonathan to not get overwhelmed in social settings. But with Shadow around, this boy always has a best friend who keeps him company and eases his anxiety!
These are just a few inspirational examples of how dogs show us that, with a can-do attitude, anything is possible! Disabilities don’t have to disable us from living life to the fullest—it just means that sometimes, we have to find a different way to continue doing the same things we love!