Suzy Chandler had adopted Kailey, a special needs dog, in close proximity to its euthanasia appointment, a date given to it due to its introverted personality. No one had wanted a dog like that, but Suzy Chandler did. The dog was saved and cared for, and later saved and took an interest caring for its whole neighborhood.
After suffering trauma at the hands of abusers, Kailey was brought to a shelter where she was cared for and put up for adoption.
But for a year, family after family came to the shelter, and passed up Kailey. She was skittish and scared, and she would snap at humans who visited.
As per shelter guidelines, a dog like Kailey who could not find a home would be euthanized.
“Her one issue was that something has happened to her in in her past so that if you try to touch her and she did not know you she would snap at you,” Jacqueline Berlin told Fox5 Atlanta. “Because of her issue, it was really hard to get her adopted.”
Not wanting Kailey to be put down, Berlin made a final plea on social media.
“She doesn’t make the greatest first impression … But maybe you can relate to being overlooked because you aren’t so good at the small talk.”
“Kailey won’t fall into your arms immediately, but within 24 hours she will be in love.”
Chandler, an introvert herself, saw the post in January 2017 and her heart went out to Kailey.
“The story of what she had been through…just pulled on our heartstrings, we just thought we would be the perfect people for her. It was a perfect match.”
Kailey was a bit paranoid, and would snap if she was surprised at someone coming too close. But Chandler, liking her space and not wanting sudden movement or surprises either, took a liking to Kailey, and they made a happy match.
So much, in fact, Kailey’s paranoia wanes in her presence. Now the dog has returned the favor and has taken care of Chandler.
On a dreary Winter morning, Kailey behaved strangely, but nothing like her paranoid self. It was different.
“All of a sudden she was just barking and growling, trying to get our attention,” Chandler said.
Kailey brought them outside and immediately guided them in a certain direction, something unusual for a dog of her nature. Seeking interaction and guiding the pack rather than wanting space.
“She pulled me directly to the side yard. Right away, I smelled overpowering gas.”
Together with the stench there was a sudden, whooshing sound; Chandler knew it right away. A gas leak.
Like any responsible citizen, Chandler alerted authorities by dialing 911 upon worrying for the safety for her DeKalb County neighborhood. The Fire Department responded by monitoring checks from the air by a close-by apartment complex, a house crowded with children.
Kailey, a dog that almost was discarded and forgotten by society, may have helped more people than anyone could have imagined.
“She is our hero,” said Chandler.
“I just don’t take the chances on people’s lives like this, it is a dangerous situation,” says Chandler.
She also remarks that she already loved Kailey to begin with, and this is only “a nice touch.”
She hopes that this story will inspire others to adopt forgotten and special needs dogs, as under the right conditions, they will go out of their way to serve and protect their community.
“We are a perfect match. If you have the space, you have room in your heart to take in a needy animal, to love them. It will come back to you tenfold.”
Many people resist adopting a special needs animal, but as Chandler shows, their needs are nothing and pale in comparison to the love they give once they are safe and comfortable. Many people see such physical and mental quirks like Kailey’s introverted self as a weakness, something that makes them lesser of a dog.
But Kailey loves to play, wants to cuddle, and is just as loyal as any other dog. You just can’t sneak up on her blind side and scare her. Kailey is, for the most part, a normal dog.
And most special needs animals are just as normal, as well. That does not mean you should not take the necessary precautions or research before adopting an animal like that, but it does mean you should not be scared or think of it any less. All animals, and people, have their characteristics, some are just more prominent than others.
Welcoming a special needs dog into your home can be extremely fulfilling and rewarded, granted you are willing to assimilate it into the house. Most people flock to adopt cute, small puppies, but what about those who are a bit older, a bit bigger, a bit weaker than the rest, who may never find a loving home? It is a worthwhile thing to do.
By taking on the task, you greatly increase the quality of the dog’s life. That said, do not feel obligated to do take on a special needs dog. If you do not have the time or the energy to attend its quirks, that is nothing but the fact of life.
All animals will return the favor, as long as you love them. Kailey is still paranoid, but is loyal and wants to protect, perhaps even more exactly because of the rarity of the love she receives. Certainly, the DeKalb County Neighborhood appreciates Chandler for adopting Kailey.
A pet is more than the spirit of the house. It is the spirit of the street and its surroundings, and when well-trained and cared for, only and always complements the scene it’s in.