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Who Dares Wins Publishing Copyright Š 2011 by Natalie C. Markey All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever without permission. eBook ISBN: 978-1-935712-49-7

For Oscar And all my family dogs before him, that made me a better dog owner. Holly Greenly Tiffany Fancy Cloe Pumpkin

Caring for Your Special Needs Dog by Natalie C. Markey

Acknowledgments Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” I love writing and I love dogs. With Oscar’s inspiration, I was able to combine both of my passions into this book. I thank Oscar for his support and being my constant foot-warmer during the writing of this book. Thank you to all the families and people that I spoke to when researching this book. You are all very inspiring. I loved hearing your stories, just as much as I love sharing them. I'd also like to thank my wonderful, supportive husband, daughter, mom, dad, brother, inlaws and friends for their constant support of my writing. Oscar was fortunate to be in the hands of the wonderful Bear Creek Animal Clinic when he was diagnosed with epilepsy. I thank them for their treatment of my “personal assistant” as well as all my family pets that have come before him. I also thank his current veterinarian, Hartman's Animal Hospital. I have been fortunate to write for since 2009 as an expert on several topics. I thank them for understanding the need of the column, Special Needs Dog Care Examiner, where I provide fellow dog owners with tips and advice on this topic. Over the years, I have had many wonderful influences to my writing career. I thank Baylor University for providing me with the tools for a wonderful education. I specifically want to thank the Baylor University Journalism and Speech Communication Departments. Special thanks to Dr. J.R. LeMaster and Dr. Michael Bishop. I also thank the wonderfully supportive ladies of the West Houston Romance Writers of America chapter.

And thank you to Bob Mayer of Who Dares Wins Publishing for understanding the value of this topic and publishing wonderful pet non-fiction.

Thanks for all the education and research that Texas A&M School of Veterinarian Medicine provides animal community. A percentage of profits from this book will go to The Texas A&M Foundation to the benefit of the Neurology Section, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinarian Medicine.


Dogs have been man’s best friend for a very long time. Archeological evidence can date dogs’ relationship to man back to 700-5800 BC. Paleontologist have found dog burial sites in Utah that date back to 11,000 years ago, clearly demonstrating the love and respect that man has for dogs. Our relationship with dogs began with a necessity to herd and other survival driven tasks. However, over the years it has evolved into a loving relationship; a relationship that brings billions of dollars into our economy each year, as we care for and pamper our beloved dogs. Dogs are like us in many ways. They are not invincible. They get sick. They also develop a number of disabilities that can make them a "special needs dog." Just like in people, some illnesses are temporary and can be treated. However, many conditions are a life sentence. Epilepsy, diabetes, degenerative disorders, sight and hearing impairments just scratch the surface of disabilities that can affect your dog's way of life. So, what is a "special needs dog?" It is a dog that has been diagnosed with a medical disorder that will require special care in order for the dog to continue to live a happy and highquality filled life. Though the diagnosis of incurable conditions may be a life sentence, many come with treatment options. They are not a death sentence and many dogs bring years of happiness to their families despite being a special needs dog. It may be upsetting and overwhelming at first, but caring for a special needs dog does not have to be hard. It takes education, planning and, most of all love.

3-4 million animals are euthanized at animal shelters each year. The ASPCA reports that about 60% of those animals are dogs. 5 out of 10 dogs are euthanized because they are not adopted. Thousands of dogs die each year on the streets. Many of these dogs being euthanized and dying on the streets are special needs dogs that were given up on. Some shelters (it depends on the individual shelter's policy and current capacity) will automatically euthanize a special needs dog because they believe they will not be adopted. Many no-kill shelters struggle to care for special needs dogs and as a result, they do not get the proper medical attention, decreasing their quality of life and their lifespan. If your dog is diagnosed with a disability DO NOT GIVE UP ON THEM. Educate yourself. Know your options and remember your commitment to those caring eyes that look to you. I am not a veterinarian. I have no professional training in animal care other than the fact that I took a pet CPR class once. I am writing this book because I own a special needs dog who has filled my life with joy. He is a member of my family. He is even credited for saving our daughter's life once. It never crossed our minds not to care for him. He has blessed us in so many ways.

“Caring for Your Special Needs Dog” offers practical advice and hope on how easy and fulfilling raising a disabled dog can be. Learn real life tips from families that are making it work.

Not a day has gone by when Markey hasn’t owned a dog. Each dog has taught her something valuable and currently her dog Oscar teaches her about raising a special needs dog. Oscar has epilepsy but the Markey family has learned simple around the house ways to help

improve his quality of life. Of course, the veterinarian plays a major role in any dog’s care, but owners have a strong place as well.

Markey also covers what worked for her when preparing her dog for the arrival of her daughter. Children can also play an important role in caring for a special needs dog. Learn how you can help your children while helping your dog.

A percentage of the profits go to The Texas A&M Foundation to the benefit of the Neurology Section, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinarian Medicine.

Natalie C. Markey writes with humor, compassion, and first-hand knowledge about disabled pets. Read her easy to use how-to tips and uplifting pet profiles in this common sense approach to keeping health-challenged pets happy. Parents especially will benefit from the spoton kids-and-dogs advice, and the fur-kids will wag themselves silly with approval. I am a fan! –Amy Shojai, CABC, author 23 pet care books including “Complete Care for Your Aging Dog” and “Complete Care for Your Aging Cat”

Natalie C. Markey is a born, bred and proud Texan. She attended Baylor University where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism/Public Relations and Speech Communications with minors in Business Development and Event Management. After several years of working in PR and communications, Natalie made the leap to turning her nine-year part-time freelance writing career into a full-time career. She writes for local and National publications and currently

holds three columns at, one of which is The Special Needs Dog Care Examiner. Natalie also writes young adult and middle grade fiction. She lives in a forest in Arkansas, where she writes daily with the support of her husband, daughter and, of course, Oscar.

Caring For Your Special Needs Dog  
Caring For Your Special Needs Dog  

Caring For Your Special Needs Dog