Why Adopt a Special Needs Pet

Three Minutes
Apr 26, 2022

September 17th through the 23rd is considered Adopt a Less Adoptable Week. Unfortunately, many of pets don’t ever find their forever homes because people don’t view them as the “ideal” pets to bring into their families.

However, a dog with special needs is not defined by his or her abilities or limitations.  What many potential adopters overlook is the fact that first and foremost, a special needs dog is a dog.  The rewards of opening your home to a dog with specific needs are many. 

What is a Special Needs Pet?

The term “special needs pet” is broad and can mean any number of things.

A special needs dog may:

  • Be missing limbs
  • Require physical therapy
  • Be blind or deaf
  • Require a unique diet
  • Require medication for his or her entire life
  • Have an anxiety disorder
  • Deal with mobility issues
  • Have situational fears
  • Deal with severe separation anxiety
  • Be a senior dog

To promote animals who may seem less adoptable, Petfinder has designated the third week of September as “Adopt-A-Less-Adoptable-Pet Week.”  If you are looking to adopt a dog (or cat), we can think of many reasons to consider adding a special needs pet to your family.

Consider the following five reasons:

1. It is Rewarding

As with any adoption, you will be saving a life. You will be giving a loving home to a pet whose life might not otherwise have been saved. Sadly, many special needs pets spend their lives in shelters or end up being euthanized because potential adopters pass them by.

In addition to adopting a new best friend, you will experience the reward of having done something to make another’s life better.  In return, a special needs pet asks only for a little extra love and care.

2. Special Needs Dogs are Just Like 'Other' Dogs

Sure, they may need a little extra TLC, but most dogs with unique needs can do all the same things other dogs do. They play, snuggle with their humans, and they wag their tails just as gratefully when you walk in the door.

Remember, they are not defined by their unique circumstances. Special needs dogs are dogs. They love just as much as other dogs. They need homes too. They want the same things all dogs desire – loving homes, fluffy dog beds, toys to play with, and humans to call their own.

3. You Will Learn about Yourself

By forming a bond with a special needs dog, you will discover that you have more patience, compassion, and empathy than you ever thought you possessed.

Perhaps you always thought it takes a more patient person to care for a special needs pet.  But you will be surprised to learn that you can be a very patient, empathetic person. The bond you form with your dog will bring out patience and selflessness that is within you. Loving an animal brings out a much more compassionate side of humans.  

4. Special Needs Pets Can Inspire you to Persevere


Despite their limitations, most special needs pets don’t know that they have special needs.  Instead, they tend to have playful demeanor’s, even as they overcome obstacles. 

The example set by a special needs dog can serve as a positive reminder to you and your family members when faced with challenges.  If your pet doesn’t give up in the face of adversity, you owe it to him to persevere as well.

5. Special Needs Dogs Can be Past the Puppy Stage

Since many special needs dogs are past the puppy stage due to not being adopted because of their needs, they don’t require the work that very young dogs demand. They are often housebroken and most know basic obedience and commands. 

Older dogs tend to have more mellow personalities so they can be content just chilling on the couch, yet they still have the energy to play.  They are past the chewing age, so your shoes and other favorite items are out of harm’s way.  

Most importantly, they will be forever grateful to you for giving them a second chance at a loving home.

If a special needs dog wasn’t on your list in your search to adopt, stop and consider the many benefits. 

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

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