McKamey: "adopting special needs pets is a rewarding experience" - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

McKamey: "adopting special needs pets is a rewarding experience"

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The McKamey Animal Center adopts out hundreds of animals each year. Some of them are truly unique in that they have special needs.

One week ago, James Mish opened his home and his heart to Shelby. She's a one and a half year old Australian cattle dog who has been at the shelter for nearly two months. She's also deaf.

"I never thought about owning a deaf dog in my life. It's just like raising another dog. They just look at your hands versus listening to your voice," Mish said.

He communicates to Shelby using sign language. He hopes to continue teaching her new commands.

Special needs animals aren't too uncommon in Chattanooga. Often times it's the result of an accident.

McKamey officials said their ability to operate gives these animals a second chance at life.

 A Staffordshire-mixed dog named Penny is up for adoption.

"She came in with a broken leg, we think probably hit by a car. Our veterinary team here at the center in our vet clinic amputated her leg. She has a little bit of a stump left, and she can fly," said McKamey Animal Center Executive Director Karen Walsh.

Penny recently underwent surgery, but she's already taking to her new legs.

Walsh said up to five percent of their animals have some sort of special need. She said McKamey's ability to help these pets sets them apart from other shelters.

It can cost hundreds of dollars each to give the animals the care they need to get adopted. That's where she hopes you can help.

"We have something called the Angel Fund that is for those animals to help those animals get a second chance," she said.

If you're looking for a four-legged friend, Walsh said you may want to consider a pet who needs a little extra help.

"Go for it. It's an adventure. It's different every single day," Mish said.

You can donate to McKamey's Angel Fund by clicking here.

The center is open for adoptions Wednesday through Sunday, and it's open by appointment Monday and Tuesday.

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