This is the story of Willie, an abandoned paralyzed dachshund, who found a loving family and a purpose in life—therapy dog!
Therapy dogs are often used to help people with autism, a neural disorder which manifests on a spectrum of widely varying severity and can cause problems like language and communication issues and severe hypersensitivity that precludes them being able to touch another human being. What is unusual, however, is to find a dog with a disability that helps people with disabilities.
A few weeks ago, an employee of the Humane Society at Tampa Bay found a 7-year-old dachshund abandoned in a box by a dumpster near the facility. The little dog’s tail and hind quarters were paralyzed. The shelter took the dog in and named him Willie, knowing that he would need to find a very special home in order to have quality of life.
That special home found Willie when 55-year-old retired U.S. Postal Service worker Sandy Lewers walked into the shelter on December 15 and heard Willie bark. “I heard the very unique dachshund bark,” Lewers says. “I know that bark, and I demanded to see the dog.”
When the shelter warned Lewers that Willie would need a special home, she knew it was a good match. “We have two autistic kids,” she says, “and I have a dog who was in a wheelchair, so I was ready for it.”
She adopted Willie on the spot and took him to meet his new family, which includes not only Lewers’ kids, Kevin and Lia, but three other dachshunds, a Labrador-golden retriever mix, and even a cat. To help Willie with his adjustment, veterinarians have put him on steroids. With the help of a doggie wheelchair that was donated, Willie is now learning to walk, and Kevin and Lia absolutely love the dog. Kevin is even helping to train him.
Lia, who suffers from severe sensory issues, now allows Willie to sit beside her.
Sherry Silk, the Humane Society’s executive director, considers it something of a holiday miracle that Willie found a loving home so quickly. People often abandon animals at the no-kill facility, which enables almost 6,000 adoptions every year, but it’s highly unusual for one found in a trash bin like Willie to find a home so quickly.
“It’s a great holiday story that he’s now in a home with other dogs and is now going to be loved for the rest of his life,” she says. “We’re just really glad that we were able to help the little dog. This one has really touched everybody’s heart.” Has it touched yours? Watch the video!