Thursday, July 23, 2020

Pets with Disabilities - Laura Ashwood

Did you know pets can have disabilities too, or special needs? There are a lot of different reasons a pet could have a special need. Whether it's allergies, vision or hearing impairment, physical disabilities, senior pets that need extra care, chronic or terminal illnesses, or neurological issues like degenerative myelopathy and epilepsy. And those are just a few.

I've had several special needs pets in my life. I've had a senior rescue dog with advanced Lyme's disease, a rescue dog that developed a brain tumor, and now I've got a dog with epilepsy. I'm not sure what the odds are of ending up with three special needs dogs, but I've learned a lot from each one.

My current special needs dog is a four year old chihuahua mix named Gus. If you follow me on social media, you are already familiar with him. He's quite a ham. And he's my constant companion. One big perk that has come out of the COVID pandemic is that I am still in work from home status with my day job. So when Gus had a 10+ minute seizure, I was here and able to get him to the vet right away. It saved his life. I shudder to think what would have happened to him if I was at the office and he was home alone.

Having a special needs dog requires a little more planning than with a regular dog. It's harder to kennel a dog (or cat) with special needs - we don't kennel our dogs, but I know a lot of people that do. Because he has to take his seizure medication on a schedule and the window is only an hour on either side of that time, we plan our schedule so he's either with us or we wait until he has his meds before we go.

Other animals with special needs might just need extra care to help them navigate stairs or around furniture in a room. Our senior dog had advanced Lyme disease when we got him from the rescue. We had to help him up the steps most of the time, especially if he was particularly active - he always crashed after. I've also seen special "wheels" for dogs with spinal cord injuries or missing limbs. It's amazing how adaptable they are.

I try to write an animal character into each of my books. My first book, Romancing the Royal, features a spoiled royal corgi. My second book, A Little Something Sweet, features a kitten that was found in a dumpster, and I'm writing a special needs dog character into one of the books I have coming out this fall.

Do you like books with animal characters as part of the story line? Would you consider adopting, or do you have a pet with special needs? I'd love to hear about it.

Until next month,
xo Laura & Gus


I've got a new release this month!


  1. This sweet puppy is fortunate to have you, Laura. Congratulations on your new release!

  2. We had a cat with only one eye. She wore a patch like pirate.

  3. Beautiful, Laura, and congrats on your new release!

  4. I enjoyed the Romancing the Royal.
    We had a senior dog with disabilities. We think she had a stroke and she lost her ability to use her back legs. The vet said to use a bath towel that we put under her then used it to support her back legs. After a couple months she learned to walk again but her days of long walks were over. It truly amazed us when she relearned how to walk.

    1. Hi, I'm so glad you enjoyed Romancing the Royal! And that is great that she relearned to walk, animals are so resilient.