Austin Pets Alive! | Why Not Adopt “The Underdog?”

Oct 30, 2023
When potential adopters sift through the hundreds of dogs available for adoption on our website or walk past the rows of kennels at our main location, they no doubt will see a few dogs in wheelchairs who are looking for a home. We could offer a bulleted list answering “Why Adopt a Wheelchair Dog?” but we’d rather explore, “Why not?”
October is Subaru Loves Pets month and while all pets are being celebrated, our friends at Subaru love to shine the spotlight on underdogs — dogs who may have a tougher time finding their adoptive home due to perceived barriers, during the month of October. Dogs in wheelchairs, or as we call them at APA!, “wheelie dogs,” often roll into that category.
Having a wheelie dog in your home, in many regards, is no different than having a dog with their own full mobility. One powerful example of a successful wheelie dog adoption sits with Frankie and her adopted dog, Gavin.
Frankie first entered the world of APA! as a foster at the beginning of 2023 and dove deeper into her involvement by becoming a robust volunteer, a decision inspired by how much she loves Gavin.
“In early 2023, I saw an email from Austin Pets Alive! about a dog named Gavin who had likely been hit by a car in 2021 and was left paralyzed. APA! pulled him and provided surgery to repair his jaw. He was in the shelter for almost two years. I instantly knew I wanted to foster Gavin.
Although I’d never had a special needs dog, I knew I could learn how to care for him and give him a loving home. I picked Gavin up during the ice storm in February 2023. He immediately stole my heart, and, after two weeks, I officially adopted him. Gavin’s daily routine includes walks on our neighborhood trail, helping me at the community garden, playing in the backyard with my other pups, and snuggling up to a stuffed toy while I work from home.
Adopting Gavin has enriched my life as much as it has his. I’m grateful every day that APA! saved him and provided medical care after his accident. To show my thanks, I volunteer with the dogs at the TLAC location most days. I enjoy spending time with the weird ones, the super high energy ones, and the specially-abled ones.
Adopting, fostering, or simply taking a shelter pup on a sleepover for a couple of weeks supports APA!’s mission of eliminating the killing of companion animals. Taking just one APA! dog home, opens up kennel space to allow APA! to pull from other shelters and avoid euthanasia.
While Gavin needs a wheelchair to be on the move, much of his day is spent in the same way any other dog spends their day — exploring the world with their people, enjoying some meals and treats, and snuggling at the end of the day.
We’re so glad that Frankie’s heart and home opened for Gavin and love that we are given the privilege of Frankie’s time and a window into the charmed life that Gavin has with Frankie!

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