Albert the rescue dog may be small and in a wheelchair, but he is mighty. He doesn’t let the fact that his hind legs are paralyzed stop him from living life to the fullest.
“I don’t think Albert realizes that he’s different,” his owner, Jill Lawson, told Petcha.com. “He lives in the moment, which is one of my most favorite things about him!”
Lawson adopted Albert in October 2012 after spotting him on a pet adoption website. Albert, who is believed to be a Shih Tzu mix, had been found in a ditch on the side of a road in rural Arkansas, paralyzed, emaciated and with matted fur. He most likely had been hit by a car.
“It hurts me so much to think about him laying there alone and scared,” Lawson said.
She believes she was meant to give the spunky little dog a home.
“I never considered adopting a special needs dog, and I think I was supposed to be browsing that website on that day,” she said.
Today, Albert, who is about 7 years old, is the furthest thing from being alone and scared. He lives in Fairfield County, Connecticut, with his family, including his brother Norman, a 2-year-old Staffordshire, Cocker Spaniel and terrier mix, and sister Pancakes, an 11-year-old Bichon Frise. Albie is the leader of the group, earning him the nickname Bossy Pants.
“He’s the alpha dog in the house, and Norman and Pancakes completely respect and love him for that,” Lawson said.
The doggy trio enjoy taking regular walks along the nearby beach, going on hikes and lounging around the house. Lawson documents their adventures on Instagram, @albertonwheels, which has more than 86,000 followers
Albert may be partially paralyzed, but keeps up with the other dogs thanks to his can-do spirit and trusty wheelchair. He got his first wheelchair when he was living in the shelter in Arkansas, and adapted to it right away.
“I heard that he LOVED it from the minute they put him in it,” Lawson said. “He just took off!”
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Throwback to Albert's shelter days… He had just received his wheelchair and loved it immediately! I am forever grateful to the shelter staff for loving him and for believing that he deserved a second chance! He was transported to us in Connecticut shortly hereafter… 💕Please adopt your next pet! There's a million little Alberts out there waiting to be saved! #adoptaspecialneedspet #adoptashelterpet #whywerescue
He’s been zooming around ever since. He loves to play fetch with Norman on the beach. He loves hiking at the 170-acre park in his town. He even goes swimming when the weather is nice.
When he’s not wheeling around town, Albert loves to find a sunny spot and take a nap.
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Ran in the rain, soaked in my tubby, played tug of war with Norm, ate snacks and begged for mamas food too, snuggled with Pancakes on the couch and now it's time for bed – sleeping with my favorite things – my cell phone, my donut and my piggy!! #puppiesinonesies #wheelchairpupper
While he is a happy, energetic dog, it’s not always easy being Albert — or being Albert’s owner.
“I’m not going to lie and say it’s all fun and games,” said Lawson, who is a nurse by trade. “He does require daily bladder expressing, diaper changes, daily baths and blow dries so his skin stays healthy.”
Lawson is a champion of special needs dogs and advocates for their adoption. However, she cautions against adopting a paralyzed pet without fully considering the commitment. It does require extra work, she said, and there are extra expenses to consider, such as diapers, wheelchairs and the many trips to the veterinarian. Albert, for example, is on his third wheelchair. But caring for a special needs dog can be extremely rewarding.
“I love [Albert] to pieces and never once regretted my decision,” Lawson said.
“The happiness and joy I receive from being his mom far outweigh the extra work!”
It’s pretty much impossible not to be happy watching Albert run and play with the best of them. It just goes to show that where there’s a wheel, there is a way.
By: Stephanie Brown