Hannah, a dog with special needs, lives a full life thanks to a wheelchair and her amazing owners. She has a hereditary neurological condition called cerebellar hypoplasia. This means that since birth, her cerebellum has been underdeveloped. Since this brain area controls motor movements, it affects Hannah’s mobility.
However, since Cassidy and her partner adopted Hannah, she’s been able to live a much happier life. Hannah spent her first three years of life in shelters and foster homes. Thankfully, she finally found her forever home in November 2019.
“We discovered Hannah through a rescue online in about October 2019,” Cassidy said. “We followed her story for about a month, and after she didn’t find a home still, we decided that we were going to apply to adopt her.”
They got to bring her home the following month after she’d just turned three years old. Cassidy and her partner then started training Hannah to walk in her wheelchair.
“Once she came home to us, we began working with her on her mobility. She’s unable to walk on her own – she wobbles, and she falls over,” Cassidy explained. “She came with a wheelchair, but she had never truly learned how to use it, so we kind of started there.”
It took a while for Hannah to get used to it, but she eventually got the hang of it. Now, she can explore both inside and outside with her mom’s supervision.
“After several months of trial and error – and practice – she now is able to get around by herself with a wheelchair while she’s outside.”
Hannah’s disability doesn’t seem to get her down. Cassidy says that she’s “always happy” and “is excited when you get home.”
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Special needs dogs give so much love and deserve it in return.
While she can’t come up to the door to greet them, she shows her happiness differently. Cassidy says that Hannah’s whole body shakes with excitement on the couch when they walk into the house. Hannah has a dog brother named Coda and gets along great with him! They both love one another and seem to make an incredible team.
“He’s been such a blessing for her,” Cassidy said. “He knows how to play with her. He protects her; they’re just the best of friends.”
Cassidy says that they want to spread awareness about Hannah’s condition to others. They made her an Instagram account, in part, so that they can advocate for her. However, they also love having her around and want to spread that joy to others.
Cassidy says this:
“We share Hannah on social media for several reasons. One of the first ones is that she makes us very happy, and is very much a light in our lives. We share her to share that with others. Despite the cards that she’s been dealt, she doesn’t know she’s any different. Many of the dogs that have this condition don’t get a chance in life. This is another reason why we share Hannah, just to show that these dogs are out there, and they are spectacular. They deserve loving, forever homes just as much as any other dog.”
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Hannah now has over 16,000 fans on Instagram, where she receives loving, supportive comments each day. Her life wasn’t always so happy, though. She was found as a stray in San Antonio, Texas, at ten months old. She went to rescue, and then a family decided to foster her for a year. However, because of all the extra work Hannah required, they chose not to adopt her.
Hannah finally found her forever family who truly loves her.
Hannah got transferred to a Wisconsin shelter, where Cassidy and her partner saw the special needs dog. Once they heard her story, they knew they had to bring her home. Hannah had just celebrated her third birthday and got the best present ever. Now, she could get the training and support she needed not only to survive but thrive.
Hannah now lives in Nebraska with her two moms and loving brother Coda. With plenty of wide-open spaces to practice with her wheelchair, it’s the perfect place for her. Hannah still struggles to steer the wheelchair due to her condition, but she practices almost every day. Cassidy and her partner give her love and patience, which is what she’s needed all along.
Along with the right support, special needs dogs like Hannah require proper training and guidance. She goes to hydrotherapy every week to improve her strength and mobility. Hannah is making fantastic progress with it thus far. Cassidy says that the vet recommends other therapies for her condition, but they are quite expensive.
Other needs emerge
Due to the costs, Hannah does not attend the additional necessary therapies. Cassidy says they also need additional supplies to make Hannah more comfortable. Her wagon is ripping on the side Hannah leans against, and they use it to transport her.
Additionally, they have been researching the right types of gear and outerwear for Hannah in colder temperatures. Hannah’s owners want her to enjoy the outdoors year-round, but her condition makes this challenging without the right equipment. If you’d like to help support their efforts, you can do so here.
Final thoughts: special needs dog finds a loving family to adopt her
Potential adopters often overlook special needs dogs like Hannah at shelters. People may get scared about the work or money involved in caring for these dogs. However, they still deserve a loving, supportive environment as much as any other dog.
Cassidy and her partner have worked hard to ensure Hannah has everything she needs. She does require various therapies and training, but Hannah’s moms don’t consider this a burden. In fact, they consider it a blessing to be able to help out a dog in need. Plus, Hannah doesn’t let her disability affect her outlook on life.
“Happy like Hannah is the motto that we use for her and is very much fitting of her.”