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Cape Coral Living Magazine

Special-Needs Pets: There’s a Special Reward for Their Caregivers

Jun 03, 2022 07:38PM ● By ANN MARIE O’PHELAN

A cat missing a leg, a deaf puppy, or a dog in its golden years—these animals are all considered special-needs pets. They are some of the most adaptable and loving pets you can add to your home.  

Local animal services specialists concur on all accounts when it comes to the appeal of these exceptional animals: 

“They have a sense of gratitude for their adopters and those caring for them every day that allows the bond to form almost instantly,” says Karen Fordiani, public information specialist for Lee County Domestic Animal Services (LCDAS).  

 “Adopting a special-needs pet can be very rewarding, and often it saves the pet’s life,” adds Liz McCauley, executive director of the Cape Coral Animal Shelter (CCAS).  

“Special-needs animals will bring so much joy and love to your life. They are so resilient and really don’t let their disability or age stop them from living full lives,” says Jaime Castro, foster coordinator at Humane Society Naples (HSN).  

Although they provide an enormous reward in love and gratitude, it’s essential to keep in mind the cost of care, the commitment, and the patience and willingness required when adopting a pet with a different set of needs. A bit of research and a discussion with the pet owner or shelter can lead to a good decision before committing.  

“During an adoption, the vet techs will go over medical issues with the shelter animal, some of which are temporary conditions,” explains Brian Wierima, community relations coordinator at Gulf Coast Humane Society (GCHS). There are ways to keep the costs down, such as low-cost pet clinics and shot clinics offered by local humane societies.  

These animals “are ingrained not to feel sorry for themselves but to move on and adapt to their condition,” Wierima adds. 



LCDAS is holding Spirit Week in May, crowning the LCDAS prom king and queen.  

GCHS is hosting a fundraiser on May 6: 101 Shelter Dogs—A Murder Mystery. 

CCAS  is planning Blessing of the Pets on October 2, and the sixth Annual CCAS Golf Classic on November 19 at Coral Oaks Golf Course

HSN’s fundraiser, Dancing with the Local Stars – Naples, is May 19. 


Ann Marie O’Phelan is a Southwest Florida resident and a regular contributor to TOTI Media. 



Cape Coral Animal Shelter 

325 SW 2nd Avenue, Cape Coral 


Gulf Coast Humane Society 

2010 Arcadia Street, Fort Myers 


Humane Society Naples 

370 Airport-Pulling Road N, Naples  



Lee County Domestic Animal Services 

5600 Banner Drive, Fort Myers